Andrew Fifita will turn his back on NSW and play for Tonga during this year’s representative period.Andrew Fifita says he’s played his last game for NSW and after electing to represent Tonga over the Blues in this year’s State of Origin period.
Fifita caused waves when he pulled out of the Kangaroos World Cup squad last year to play for the Pacific nation and has long weighed up who to pledge his allegiance to in 2018.
His decision was complicated by the fact a representative scheduling change means the annual mid-year Pacific Test will be held the same weekend as the stand-alone Origin II in Sydney – so he couldn’t play for the Blues and Tonga.
And Fifita said he’d made the decision to preference his Pacific heritage over his Blue jersey.
“I’ve been putting it off for a while now … but I won’t be playing Origin,” Fifta told the Halfcast UFC Podcast.
“I won’t be playing for again and I’m sticking with Tonga.”
Fifita has played 10 games for NSW since his debut in 2013 and last year declared winning an Origin series the last thing on his rugby league bucket list.
The 28-year-old was a strong contender to keep his spot in the Blues side under new coach Brad Fittler, after having been their best in their only win in Game I last year.
But he said a decision by Jason Taumalolo to play the rest of his career for Tonga over New Zealand inspired him to preference Tonga after their last-ditch World Cup semi-final loss to England.
“He said ‘I’ve got something to say’ and it was pretty much along the lines of ‘we went so well, I’m going to stick with Tonga for the rest of my playing career’.
“I was looking at him saying ‘woah’. And everyone went off, cheering and carrying on.
“They all started yelling ‘Drew! Drew! Drew!’ And I was in a corner, just thinking about Origin, thinking please don’t (ask me now).
“And I thought you know what, ‘I’m with him too’.
Meanwhile NSW captain Boyd Cordner said he respected Fifita’s decision to choose Tonga over NSW.
“Obviously that’s his choice and we’ve got to respect that,” he said.
“He wants to play for his country which is okay and that’s up to him.
“That’s where his head is at so we’ve got to respect that.”