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Jason Taumalolo at the Tonga fan day.

The noise created by thousands of Tonga fans at an open training session in Auckland on Wednesday was so loud that Jason Taumalolo had to lean forward to reject comparisons between himself and rugby league Immortal Dally Messenger.

Taumalolo has been credited with leading a revolution after turning his back on New Zealand to play for Tonga at last year's World Cup and interest in Saturday's historic Test against Australia at Mt Smart Stadium is so high it has sold out.

Some have described Taumalolo's decision as the international equivalent to Messenger defecting from rugby union in 1908 to help launch the game in Australia but the North Queensland lock insisted a lot of other people had played significant roles in the rise of the Pacific nation.

"A lot of people talk about my decision but it was a team decision," Taumalolo said. "Too many people are taking it out of proportion that I made the decision but everyone made the decision themselves to come back and represent their country."

Kangaroos v Tonga preview

Taumalolo and prop Andrew Fifita were the biggest names to switch allegiances, with the latter withdrawing from the Australian team. The likes of David Fusitu'a, Siosiua Taukeiaho and Manu Ma'u also turned down Kiwi selection.

Tonga's performance at the World Cup and the support they generated before bowing out of with a controversial 20-18 semi-final loss to England has transformed the international game.

Addin Fonua-Blake has since changed allegiances from the Kiwis to Mate Ma'a Tonga, while Tevita Pangai jnr made it clear he would follow Fifita by choosing a red jersey over the sky blue of NSW.  

"Me and Andrew are just a couple of names that have been tossed around but it was more than just two of us," Taumalolo said. "It was a whole 17, all the boys that are playing for Tonga now.

"It's all about giving back to people and representing them, and showing them how proud we are that we are Tongans and hopefully making everyone else proud."

More than 2000 fans dressed in red and waving large Tongan flags showed their pride for the team at an open training session at Mt Smart Stadium on Wednesday.

There were even fans dressed as Elvis, Superman and even a bride, while some held signs declaring where they were from, such as "Utah is here". Others told they had travelled from California, Australia and other parts of New Zealand for the Test.

"When a few players decided to represent their heritage, we didn't think we would have this much of an impact on our people," Taumalolo said.

"For them to come out and show their support like they did, that's motivated the boys to stay with their country of heritage and represent them more."

Tonga centre Konrad Hurrell at the fan day.
Tonga centre Konrad Hurrell at the fan day. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

If anything, the support for Tonga has grown since the World Cup and the atmosphere at Saturday night's Test is expected to be so loud that on-field communication will be difficult for the players.

"It's pretty special. The boys have been looking forward to it for a while," Taumalolo said.

"We feed off their support and for them to turn up in numbers, and paint the place red, it inspires the boys even more. We are hoping to do Tonga proud."

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.