Mate Ma'a Tongan fever hits Hamilton

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Mate Ma'a Tonga fandom fever has hit Hamilton like a red sea with Tongan fans gathering in droves ahead of the Kiwis v Tonga clash tonight at FMG Stadium in Waikato.

Tongan fans have been pouring in since this morning from all over the country. Rugby League World Cup confirmed that tonight's match is the largest RLWC game in New Zealand to date with tickets close to a sell-out. That's just shy of 25,800 people.

You could hear them before you saw them as Tongan supporters paraded through the streets of Hamilton helping to build the hype of what could be the largest RLWC game.

From babies to elders, fans turned out by the truckload from across the country, including Tonga and Australia, to support their team.

With no tier two team ever having knocked a tier one team in the competition, Tongan supporters are hoping that tonight history could be made. Win or lose, the parade doesn't stop for these supporters.