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Broncos stars to auction jerseys in support of Tonga

Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs will auction the boots and jersey he wears in the round one showdown with the Rabbitohs to help raise funds for Tonga in the wake of the weekend's tsunami and volcanic eruptions.

Staggs made the pledge as he fronted the media alongside Broncos team-mates and fellow Tongans Tesi Niu and Delouise Hoeter to speak of their heartbreak at what had unfolded in their homeland and their agonising wait for communications to be restored.

"My dad is in America at the moment and I was straight on the phone to him to see if he had any contact and he said he didn't. As soon as I heard that I put the phone down and prayed," Staggs said.

"We are sitting tight and hoping the family can use their phones soon.

Brisbane players throw support behind Tonga

"When everything has calmed down and they have their phones back on and we can communicate it would be good for us Tongan boys if we could go over there and help them buiild their houses."

On November 2, 2019 Staggs played halfback in the Tonga Invitation side which pulled off a stunning 16-12 win over Australia in Auckland, a victory so significant that a public holiday has been declared on that day to celebrate the occasion.

Also on the field that day were Addin Fonua-Blake and Ben Murdoch-Masila, who will line up for the Warriors in the February 19 'Unite for Tonga' trial match against the Melbourne Storm.

"It means a lot to wear the Tonga jersey and I love learning new things about my culture. I went over to Tonga after we beat Australia and that was the best time of my life," Staggs said.

Incredible scenes as Tonga perform Sipi Tau

"The first jersey I wear in round one and the boots I wear will get auctioned off to raise money for the Tongan community and the other two boys are going to do the same."

Hoeter, who was born in Tonga and lived there until he was six, said his biggest concern was for his parents, who were waiting on news of relatives affected by the tragedy.

"My mum's family home that was built by her mum and dad was destroyed in the tsunami," he said.

"At the moment it's pretty much a waiting game with all communications down.

"We want to send our love and thoughts and we'll stick together and whatever help we can give through the club and through the Tongan community here in Australia and in New Zealand we'll do whatever we can."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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