- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 16 October 2018, 6:11PM
Tonga's historic rugby league clash with Australia isn't until Saturday but the excitement has already boiled over in the streets of Auckland.
Red and white flags line Rockfield Rd in Ellerslie, with more than half a dozen houses covered in Tongan garb supporting Mate Ma'a Tonga in their maiden clash with the Kangaroos at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
Tonga caught the sporting world's attention in last year's Rugby League World Cup where they beat New Zealand in pool play on the way to making the semifinals, where they lost a close game to England.
Rockfield Rd resident Darren Lole said his family wanted to show their support after Tonga's success last year.
"The World Cup last year was pretty big so when we heard that they were having a game against Australia this year, the support is going to be major again.
"Last year the whole street was packed. It was flooded with fans before the game and after the game just showing their love and support for the game."
Lole will be going to the match with about 20 people from his family and said the community coming together was the best part of the game.
"The most important thing is the people, the unity."
Resident Moala Tuitupou said he knew the community would come together to support their team.
"Anywhere in the world, Tonga will be there to support. Win or lose, it doesn't affect us.
"We don't have the money, we don't have the finances but we have the heart. We are a small nation but we have a big heart."
Resident Nancy Ahau said houses of all ethnicities, not just Tongan, were decorated to show the whole community's support.
"We asked them to decorate their house to show support. We need the whole place to be all red. That's in my heart and that's why we support everything to be red.
"This year we go for the win. We are going to win. That's why we have to decorate everywhere. Red in your home and red in your heart."
The game kicks off at 7.35pm on October 20.
This story was originally published on nzherald.co.nz but is republished here with permission.