Fifita slammed for 'disrespectful' Meninga snub

Andrew Fifita has been slammed for his decision to turn his back on Mal Meninga and play for Tonga at the World Cup.

The 28-year-old has joined New Zealand star Jason Taumalolo in making the shock defection, while several other Kiwi-eligible players have been picked for Tonga on Thursday.

Cronulla prop Fifita was named in the Kangaroos squad this week before informing coach Meninga on Thursday of his decision to quit the team.

Fifita won't be wearing this jersey again. Image: Getty

He only returned to the national team set-up in May this year, playing his first game since the 2013 World Cup after being banned from last year's Four Nations for his on-field support of one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge.

Meninga and skipper Cameron Smith. Image: Getty

According to Channel 7's Liam Cox, the shock switch is a slap in the face for Meninga after he welcomed Fifita back into his side.

"Fifita's cards have now been marked 'never to play for Australia again'," Cox reported on Thursday night.

"Many believe it's disrespectful he's turned his back on Meninga."

Cox also tweeted his disdain, labelling it a 'poor decision'.

"He should never represent Australia again," Cox wrote.

Fans also took to Twitter to slam Fifita.

In snubbing short-priced favourites Australia, Fifita is turning down a potential $50,000 pay cheque for winning the World Cup, with Tonga players expected to take home just $3000 for their participation.

Meninga gave Fifita his blessing on Thursday, but delivered a veiled swipe at his former player when revealing Penrith forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard would replace Fifita.

"Andrew called me and said he was passionate about playing for Tonga and I respect and support that decision," Meninga said in a statement.

“I prefer him to go play with Tonga if that’s where his heart is because I know that Campbell-Gillard’s heart is in the green and gold."

Tonga squad: Andrew Fifita, Mahe Fonua, David Fusitu’a, Siliva Havilli, Ata Hingano, Will Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell, Michael Jennings, Solomone Kata, Sione Katoa, Samisoni Langi, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sika Manu, Manu Ma'u, Sam Moa, Ben Murdoch Masila, Joe Ofahengaue, Tevita Pangai jnr, Ukuma Ta'ai, Sio Siua Taukieaho, Jason Taumalolo, Peni Terepo, Daniel Tupou, Manu Vatuvei

with AAP