Kristian Woolf says Tonga were made to pay for their lack of match practice in Saturday’s 34-16 defeat to Australia. At an expectant Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, the Tongans struggled to find their feet early on and their sluggishness allowed the Kangaroos to build a 20-point lead heading into the break.
The MMT fought back after the break but always seemed to be a step behind the Australians, who bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to New Zealand.
Woolf had hoped to arrange a warm-up game against the New Zealand Maori ahead of his side’s first Test of the autumn but the proposed fixture fell through.
Speaking afterwards, the 43-year-old acknowledged their lack of a preparation fixture meant his side were undercooked heading into the match, an issue he admits was apparent, especially in the first half.
“Obviously you get better at playing footy when you are playing. It was a bit disappointing that we weren’t able to have that and going forward it really needs to be afforded to us,” Woolf said.
“If we’re going to have these opportunities again we’d certainly like to think that we could have a bit more time to be prepared and get more of an opportunity to get a game in beforehand.”