WORLD CUP: Bundaberg's Antonio Kaufusi was picked in the Tongan team for the World Cup qualifyer against Cook Islands.
WORLD CUP: Bundaberg's Antonio Kaufusi was picked in the Tongan team for the World Cup qualifyer against Cook Islands. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Kaufusi’s off season cut short

BUNDABERG'S Antonio Kaufusi has earned the chance to get back on the international stage after he was picked in Tonga's preliminary train-on squad for the World Cup qualifier against Cook Islands in October.

Kaufusi made his return to the NRL with the Bulldogs for the 2015 season after a two-season stint in the UK where he played for the London Broncos, Huddersfield Giants and Bradford Bulls.

He played seven games for the Bulldogs in the NRL after he was given the opportunity when injuries and suspension raided the Bulldogs' pack.

Tonga was defeated 18-16 by Samoa in the Pacific Test in May at Robina Stadium and despite the loss Tongan coach Kristian Woolf was happy with where the team's progress was.

Woolf says he expected to get plenty out of the game against Cook Islands.

"Not only is there a lot riding on the game in terms of a spot in the 2017 World Cup, it is also a chance for us to get together as a team and keep building on the momentum created after the May Test against Samoa," Woolf said.

"I know that our men can't wait to get together again in camp and to pull on the Tongan jersey and represent Tonga to the best of their ability."

Kaufusi has played one Test for Australia (2006) and three for Tonga and if he gets the chance in October his strength in the middle of the ground will be a definite boost for the team.



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