Willie Tonga relaxed about Aussie call-up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Willie Tonga relaxed about Aussie call-up

John Salvado 26/10/2010 05:12:23 PM Comments (0)

Ignorance is bliss for born-again Australian rugby league centre Willie Tonga.

Having celebrated his return to international action after a five-year absence with two tries in the 42-0 Four Nations romp over Papua New Guinea, Tonga will now turn his attention to Sunday's clash with England in Melbourne.

Not that Tonga plans to get bogged down worrying about the potential strengths and weaknesses of an England team still smarting from a disappointing first-up loss to New Zealand.

Tonga's knowledge of the tourists' lineup doesn't extend much further than star forwards Gareth Ellis and Sam Burgess, both of whom play in the NRL with Wests Tigers and South Sydney respectively.

"I've got no idea (about England's likely centre pairing)," Tonga said on Tuesday.

"I don't watch Super League or NRL as a matter of fact.

"... I watched bits and pieces (of the Kiwis' 24-10 win over England last weekend) but I try and keep away from footy when I'm not playing it."

"I speak to the other guys in our team who can sit there and watch every game over the whole weekend which blows me away," added Tonga.

"I thought everyone was the same as me but maybe I'm a one-off.

"I like to keep it that way and it helps me relax as well.

"When I was young I used to watch every game, but once I started playing the game at a professional level it got a bit too much for me and I realised that when I get away from the game it helps me to clear my head and relax."

At the start of 2010, you would have got long odds on Tonga and his Cowboys teammate-to-be Brent Tate being Australia's starting centres in the Four Nations.

The last time Tonga had played for Australia was in 2005.

But with the likes of Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Jamie Lyon, Josh Morris, Michael Jennings and Jamal Idris all ruled out through injury and code-swapping Israel Folau unavailable, the cards have fallen their way.

Not that the 27-year-old Tonga is looking too far ahead.

"I'm just fortunate enough to be in this position," said Tonga.

"It's been a while and it gives me another opportunity to wear the green and gold, which is probably the highlight of my career.

"As far as cementing a Kangaroos spot after this tour, that's not something I'm even thinking about.

"I'm just trying to secure a spot for this tournament.

" ... I approach the games a lot differently now.

"Back then (in 2004) I was just on a massive rollercoaster ride with the Bulldogs, playing Origin and winning the comp in my first full year of first grade.

"Definitely I'm now a little bit older and a little bit wiser."

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