Go on Toa Samoa, you’ve got this!

Put it this way. If we were able to control how other people behave, it would have been nice to just let the Tongan fans go crazy. 

Sure they can burn our flags, taunt us, challenge our people to a noisy parade and they can say whatever they like. Let them be.

Our only response should be tonight in Hamilton when our beloved Toa Samoa takes the field for the must win game to keep their Rugby League World Cup playoff hopes alive. 

You see it’s easy to get lost in the emotions when the enormity of an occasion is allowed to dictate reactions and what people do. And it happens all the time, even to the best of us.

But we are a nation who believe in the old saying that “o lalo lava e maua ai malo.” In English, it translates that it is through humility that victory is won. 

And that should be our approach as supporters as we pray and encourage our Toa Samoa to do their best.

The facts are simple. Two teams who desperately want to win will take the park tonight. Only one of them will come out victorious. 

From our perspective, we all hope that victorious team will be our Toa Samoa. How wonderful would that be because we know the odds are against us? We’ve all seen the predictions and what the experts are saying. Of all the previews we’ve read, not one predicts a Toa Samoa victory. They all say Tonga will win this one tonight. Which is okay since Tonga without a doubt has one of the best teams on paper at the competition.

But you will not be saying that to Matt Parish, Frank Pritchard and the Toa Samoa. They are not known as the Toa Samoa for nothing. These boys are our warriors. They are primed and ready to represent us. You can bet your last tala those boys will be fired up for tonight and they will do everything absolutely possible to spoil Tonga’s party.

It’s true that we were all disappointed with the outcome of last week’s opening game against the Kiwis. Of course we could’ve done a lot better. If anything, Parish’s assessment was quite harsh. 

“You can’t toss garbage up and expect to compete, especially against a team that good,” Parish said.

“Our second half performance, and look the Kiwis played very well, but we were our own worst enemies. We tried hard but we made schoolboy errors.”

Garbage? Schoolboy errors?

If those words don’t make you angry as a player, I don’t know what will.

“[At half-time] I was pretty confident because I thought we played okay without playing great and were still in the game, but the second half was pretty disappointing,” Parish added. 

Captain Frank Pritchard was equally devastated.

“Definitely [it’s step backwards], and it’s a bit of a setback to lose our way,” Pritchard said.

“We have got a lot to work on. The good thing about this is it’s a tournament and this is only one game.

“It’s hurting but we have got to quickly turn it around. We have got a tough team next week so we can’t toss that up again.” 

Getting back to Parish, he remains confident that they can turn things around tonight.

“The most disappointing fact to me is that we are a better team than we showed. I know we are better than that,” Parish said.

“[We will] go back and regroup, we showed we can compete, we have just got to do it for longer periods.”

Can they do it against Tonga? Can they spoil Tonga’s party? Do they have what it takes to prove all the predictions who have all pointed to a Tongan victory wrong?

We believe they can. 

The key is to not get sucked into all the emotions tonight’s occasion will bring. If Toa Samoa keeps their cool, play to their strengths and enjoy the occasion without being distracted, they are more than capable of toppling Tonga and then we can brag and say whatever we want about their fans – including the “idiot” who burnt our flag. O outou mama na Toa Samoa!

Have a wonderful weekend! Samoa, God bless!

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