Michael Jennings and Andrew Fifita console each other following Tonga’s dramatic loss to England.
Michael Jennings and Andrew Fifita console each other following Tonga’s dramatic loss to England.

Fifita pledges his future with Tonga

ANDREW Fifita's Australian career appears to be over after the controversial NSW Origin prop declared his heart is with Tonga.

In his first interview since sensationally walking out on the Kangaroos six weeks ago, Fifita spoke of his private heartache, revealing his father begged him not to play for Tonga to help the family financially.

Fifita's pre-tournament bombshell has cost him at least $40,000 - the sum Australia's 24-man squad will each receive for playing in this Saturday night's World Cup final at Suncorp Stadium.

But the Tongan turncoat insists he has no regrets over the decision, saying he will never forget what he and fellow defectors Jason Taumalolo and David Fusitu'a achieved with the tier-two minnows.

"I'm here with Tonga now," said Fifita in the wake of Tonga's gut-wrenching 20-18 semi-final loss to England at Mt Smart Stadium.

Andrew Fifita cries on the field after Tonga’s dramatic loss to England.
Andrew Fifita cries on the field after Tonga’s dramatic loss to England.

"I'm in a red jersey now - I can't wait for the Pacific series next year.

"It's taken a group of us to rock the world and we have rocked this world. I don't think the World Cup will be as big as we have seen it today.

"I have family in Alaska going off. Tonga would be going off it's nuts. I'm just proud of all the 24 guys in this squad."

Asked if will commit to new NSW Origin coach Brad Fittler next season, Fifita said: "At the moment, Origin is up in the air, I'll wear my heart on my sleeve.

"That is next year, but I'm embracing being with Tonga.

Andrew Fifita on the charge for Tonga against England at last year's World Cup.
Andrew Fifita on the charge for Tonga against England at last year's World Cup.

"I am one of those blokes who just can't cry, but the first thing I thought of (when choosing Tonga) was my grandparents and my family.

Fifita could easily be running out for Australia in Saturday night's World Cup final against England, but insists he does not have a single regret.

"No chance. Come on now," Fifita said.

"No way mate, I'm proud of my decision. I've done this for my parents, my grandfathers, my family and the (Tonga) boys in there and that's who I stand by.

"There is no regrets, I'm proud of how far I've gone."

Tonga stars Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo embrace after their loss to England.
Tonga stars Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo embrace after their loss to England.

Fifita admits he could have handled the affair in a better way, saying Australia coach Mal Meninga deserved more than a phone call one hour before the Kangaroos squad was chosen.

"I didn't know how to tell Mal, but I was also thinking family first and what benefits them is the money," he said.

"I had two sleepless nights. I wear my heart on my sleeve and my heart was saying it's time to go to Tonga.

"I asked dad what he felt and he said stick with Australia because that's what benefits our family, but when I told him I'm going Tonga, he was shattered. He cried.

"I've been part of history beating a tier-one nation and helping Tonga to the semi-finals. At the end of the day, we are the people's champ and I'm happy with that."

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