Joe Ofahengaue
Joe Ofahengaue Inga Williams

Tonga test debut puts perfect finish on stellar season

ON Saturday Joe Ofahengaue helped Tonga qualify for the 2017 World Cup, beating Cook Islands 28-8 in Campbelltown.

For Ofahengaue it posed no problem getting up for, despite the devastation of the NRL grand final loss a fortnight earlier.

Mind you, a Tongan test camp is a whole lot different to the hype and pressure involved in the lead up to an NRL grand final.

"It was a good experience," Ofahengaue said of his debut for Tonga.

"The lead up was pretty relaxed.

"All the boys were relaxed so it was awesome. I just tried to treat it like a normal game."

Given Ofahengaue's meteoric rise (he was still playing in the national under 20 competition this year), he may yet pull on the green and gold of the Australian Kangaroos one day.

Until then he will proudly represent the country of his ancestors.

"I took a lot out of the experience," he said. "It was really good to get back to my culture and knowing where you came from."

And like any clash between Pacific Island nations it was physical and intense, from the pre-match haka until the full-time whistle.

"It was a real Pacific Islands test macth," Ofahengaue said.