Taumalolo fired up for Tonga

Jason Taumalolo says it's unrealistic to believe he can carry Tonga to World Cup glory alone but he's determined to try.

The 24-year-old was named North Queensland's player of the year at the weekend, an honour that capped off a difficult week after he controversially turned his back on the Kiwis to play for Tonga at the looming tournament.

Taumalolo has had a hectic season but is adamant he still has the energy for test rugby league at the highest level and will do everything he can to help Tonga.

"I go into camp next week and I'm looking forward to another chapter in my international career. It should be an exciting World Cup," Taumalolo told the Townsville Bulletin.

"Give me a week or two and I should be right. Obviously with a big Mad Monday and the amount of Macca's I've had in the last week probably doesn't help.

"I'll be going into the camp, working my arse off, and hopefully be in great shape come our first game at the World Cup.

"I'm not going there to take the load and try to carry a country. I'm just there to do my job and hopefully there's a few other players who can do that too."

Taumalolo believed expectations around Tonga needed to be realistic despite other stars joining him in the red jersey and raising hopes.

"I think that question will be answered come World Cup time. Until then, there's a lot of work," Taumalolo said.

"For a few of the players, it'll be the first time in camp with each other so I think we'll need to get to know each other and gel as a team first before any of that is possible."

He reiterated his earlier thoughts about his selection stance that shocked the Kiwi camp.

"Purely because I thought it was a great idea to go back and help a little nation become one of the threats of the tournament," Taumalolo said.

"Hopefully one day it inspires the next generation of Tongan rugby league players to come through the ranks and not only pick Tier 1 teams, but also play for whatever little nation they come from


Photo by: CAMERON SPENCER/GETTY (Caption: Cowboys Te Maire Martin, left, Jason Taumalolo and Shaun Fensom sing the national anthem before the 2017 NRL Grand Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys)