The NRL is investigating a complaint of racist behaviour by a staff member after Saturday’s blockbuster Test between Australia and Tonga.
Tonga certainly took the fight to Australia despite falling to a 34-16 defeat in New Zealand, but it was an off-field moment that may take the shine on what was otherwise an incredible Test match.
A DJ working at the game told New Zealand media he has spoken to the NRL’s integrity unity, after he said he heard a racial slur by an NRL staffer behind him.
The alleged incident occurred when the Tongan supporters were broadcast on the big screen during the dance-cam, and his statement has been reported.
“The guy that was standing behind me and he made the reference, ‘dance monkey dance,” the DJ said.
The NRL said they are taking the matter very seriously.
The Test itself was a spectacle for those tuning in, and even more so for those in attendance – as the incredible atmosphere produced by the Tongan supporters made headlines.
The Mate Ma’a battled valiantly in a 34-16 defeat to world champions the Kangaroos in their historic Test match in Auckland on Saturday night.
Up next will be an anticipated re-match against New Zealand next June in what could be part of a tri-series involving another Test against Australia.
“There is a bit of conversation that we could get that opportunity again this time next year, that’s certainly one we’d look forward to again,” Woolf said.
“We’d be able to be better prepared and better for the occasion than tonight.”
After an error-riddled first half cruelled any chance against Australia, Woolf claimed his team were disadvantaged by a lack of warm-up matches.
In comparison, a number of Kangaroos had featured in matches against Papua New Guinea and New Zealand over the past fortnight.
“At times it looked like a team of guys that hadn’t played footy, and guys that had three games on the trot and yet to fine-tune some of those things,” Woolf said.
“It was certainly the case in periods in the first half.
“It was a bit disappointing that we were able to have that and obviously that’s something going forward that needs to be afforded to us.”
Tonga could have at least three Tests next year, including a possible Test against the Kiwis during the NRL’s representative weekend.
Given how the Australia-Tonga game sold out Mt Smart Stadium, Woolf suggested the game could be staged at a bigger venue.