Despite the recent popularity of defecting to Tonga, not everyone believes that it is the right thing to do.
New Zealand Captain Adam Blair had some choice words for Jason Taumalolo, who has bolted the Kiwis in protest over the harsh treatment fellow players received from Kiwi Coach David Kidwell in the wake of illicit recreational drug allegations.
Blair accused Taumalolo of betraying New Zealand and the national jersey and said that JT was not “man enough” to tell Kidwell to his fact about his plans to switch to Tonga for ruby league’s World Cup.
Blair was also less than generous in his remarks to the New Zealand Warriors’ David Fusitu’a for the same late switch as JT. Blair implied that neither player might find a homecoming option available were they to regret their emotional move and wish to return to the Kiwi side.
It seems as though Blair’s main objection is the timing of the defections.
“You’ve got to be a man and own up to what you want to do,” he said. “If you were man enough, you’d make the phone call and tell them.He Taumalolo) could have told them a couple of weeks ago because I don’t think it was a last-minute decision.Obviously this was something he was thinking about doing.”
JT issued a written statement saying that the reason he was leaving was to help promote the Tongan rugby league. That explanation fell flat with Blair and Blair did not give much credence to media reports that Kidwell’s ban of Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor was the motivation for JT and some of the other defectors.
The whole affair raises trust issues for Blair. “At this stage, it feels like we’ve been let down a lot,” he said. “So do we let them back in the team?You’re going to have to find some way to be able to trust them again but does that cause issues and problems that we don’t need?”