'Why not?' Even Fifita's Kangaroos rivals agree he could have walked into Australian team

On form you have to wonder if Andrew Fifita would have been picked for the Kangaroos, who line up against his Tonga on Saturday night.

Fifita has pledged his allegiance to the tiny Pacific nation but did pull on the green and gold for Australia during the 2017 Anzac Test and was picked for the World Cup before informing coach Mal Meninga of his change of heart.

Passionate: Andrew Fifita trains with the Tonga team in Auckland.

Passionate: Andrew Fifita trains with the Tonga team in Auckland.Credit:NRL Photos

Those close to Fifiita say he matured after his starring role for Tonga and he went on to be named Dally M prop of the year.

Kangaroos prop Aaron Woods, a teammate of Fifita's at Cronulla, said on Monday: "That's one for Mal. But he's played enormous footy and got Dally M front-rower of the year, so I'd say 'why not?'.

"He's a really passionate dude and a great fella. He's a really positive guy, even when you're in a negative situation he's trying to think of the positives and it rubbed off on the [Cronulla] team.''

Fifita danced around the question when Fairfax Media asked him in Auckland.

"I’m just going with the flow. I know I received some big awards, and I'm forever grateful for that," Fifita said.

"This year was the toughest year I’ve had playing football. Playing with the knee injury and having that leadership role and the 'c' next to my name, with a lot of injuries in our team someone had to step up. It was a tough year mentality and physically. I couldn’t run around with the kids because of knee. It was about rehab and putting my team first.

"I have one more game to go against the world’s best."

David Klemmer and Jordan McLean started up front for the Kangaroos against New Zealand while Woods came off the bench and Reagan Campbell-Gillard was 19th man. Only Klemmer ran for north of 100m in a game in which Australia were starved of possession.

For Woods, he was grateful to be shown some faith by Meninga after what he described as a "rollercoaster year" including the mid-season switch to Cronulla and missing out on State of Origin.

"It was really good to get the call from Mal the other week, just to say I'm still in, he's happy with what I've done and wanted me to go out there and do my job," Woods said.

"It's been a rollercoaster. Even the last 18 months, leaving the Tigers and then going to the World Cup, which was a high. The Bulldogs didn't start off the way we wanted to but going to Sharks was awesome, and now I've made the Australian side. It's a bumpy ride."

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