Tonga retires before lining up for Wests

27/08/2018 Posted by admin

OUT: Willie Tonga won’t play for the Rosellas in 2018 after succumbing to a knee injury. Picture: Jarred Stedman Former Australian and Queensland representative Willie Tonga has retired and won’t play for Wests in the Newcastle Rugby League competition this season.

The 34-year-old had been linked with the Rosellas during the off-season but was unable to recover from an ongoing knee injury in order to run around Harker Oval during2018.

Tonga visited specialist Neil Halpin last week.

“The short and the long of it is, he [Tonga] gets to go out on his terms,” Wests coach Matt Lantry said.

“It was a smart decision to finish his rugby career. There’s no need for him to be running around again and playing one year too long.

“The body wasn’t quite going to be up to it and now he’ll move onto the next phase of his life.”

The Canberra-born centre played 181 NRL games for Parramatta, Canterbury and North Queensland between 2002 and 2014, including a premiership with the Bulldogs.The last three years Tonga has played 31 English Super League matches for Catalans, Leighand Bradford.

Wests also missed out on the services offormer Kiwi Test forward Frank-Paul Nu’uausala, who joined the Sydney Roosters in February after departing the Wigan Warriors, but they picked up returning former Knights playmakerRyan Stig.

The Rosellas forward pack has been bolstered for 2018 with Queensland Cup signing Tama Koopu joining last year’s skipper Mark Taufua in the front row.Also named for Wests in round one are South Newcastle recruits Matt Shipway, who represented the US at the recent World Cup,and Beau Simpson.

The 2017 minor premiers and beaten grand finalists host Central Newcastle, featuring a swag of former Wests players including Simon Williams, Callan Richardson and Jermaine Ale, at Harker Oval on Sunday.

Elsewhere on Saturday and Lakes are away toMacquarie,South Newcastle travel to Kurri whileMaitland tackleCessnock.

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