You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

He has experienced Rugby League World Cup triumphs, State of Origin victories and NRL finals campaigns, but Tyson Frizell said he was feeling “like a kid on their first day at school” after getting the call-up to represent Tonga.

The Newcastle forward – who made his international debut with Wales in 2011 and won the 2017 World Cup with the Kangaroos – has been on the radar of Tonga coach Kristian Woolf for a number of years and was finally named in the squad to tour England this month.

“I had a conversation with Woolfy probably in 2013 and at that time, I felt like I was still committed to Wales, I was still a kid and then obviously got an opportunity to represent Australia and then (now it’s) full circle; it's something that I've always wanted to do,” Frizell said.

“I didn't know when I would get the opportunity to do it and speaking to Woolfy over the past probably two years, I was keen to come over and play.

“It feels like a first day at school, so I'm still getting to know all the boys and it's still early days where I'm sure we'll get to know each other a lot more in the tournament over there.

“It's a strong squad; a team full of players that have played a lot of NRL experience too.

“There's a couple of young kids that are potentially get an opportunity to play over the three-game series; but I feel like I'm probably not as young as those kids, but I feel (like I have) got a really big spring in the step.”

Tyson Frizell in action for Australia against Tonga.
Tyson Frizell in action for Australia against Tonga. ©NRL Images

Frizell, who is re-signed with the Knights for next year and beyond, said that his family were proud to see him able to represent his mother Sophia's heritage, having represented his Welsh father Andrew in the past.

“I think my dad was more proud, funnily enough, more happy for me,” Frizell said.

“Mum's pretty proud, but she doesn't really show too much emotion, but yeah, dad was pretty proud to be honest.

“It's not quite common, my mix of cultures and countries; so I'm very lucky that I've had the opportunity to represent all sides of my background.

Tyson Frizell training with the Tonga at Kayo Stadium before the squad fly out to England.
Tyson Frizell training with the Tonga at Kayo Stadium before the squad fly out to England. ©Rowan Clark / Dolphins

“I am looking forward to representing Tonga in the series over there. I am really proud to be able to represent my mum's side of the family. It's going to be the first opportunity I get to do it, so I’m not too sure what to expect.”

Tonga will become the first Pacific nation to play a full three-Test series against England and set off on their historic tour on Thursday, with their first match at Totally Wicked Stadium at St Helen's on Sunday, October 22.

“To get an opportunity to go over there; it is the first time that Tonga's been able to do this in the three-game series against England, and it’s a historic time for Tonga, so it's very exciting for me," Frizell said.

“It's been early days here in camp and I've enjoyed my time so far, it’s been short, but I'm looking forward to going over to England ... we're confident we can beat anyone … as we progress, we're going to get stronger as a unit.

“A lot of these boys are very proud Tongans and they've sacrificed a lot to be able to play for their country, so we've got a lot to play for.”