Tonga national coach and St Helens boss Kristian Woolf has given an emotional statement following the tsunami disaster in the Polynesian Island that has disrupted the lives of so many.
Woolf, as well as a number of other internationals in the UK like Konrad Hurrell, have still had not contact with their friends and families in the tiny kingdom after the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano caused a tsunami.
“I know a lot of people over there, I’ve spoken to a number of players who have a lot of close family in Tonga, but nobody has been able to have any contact at this stage – the worst thing is not knowing anything,” Woolf told the New Zealand Herald.
“You hope everything is alright, and everyone is in your thoughts, but not having that contact at the moment makes it really difficult.
“There are so many terrific people over there, and when our players go over, the way we are accommodated and treated, there is a real sense of belonging – you appreciate how grateful the people are to have the players.
“It’s devastating to hear this has gone on – the fact there’s no communication coming out of there at the moment, you can only hope everyone has got to higher ground.
“We’d love communication to come out of there sooner than later so everyone can work out what sort of help is needed.”
Hurrell himself still has his father and siblings in Tonga after losing his mother back in 2020 and Woolf could not praise his national squad highly enough.
“All the players have either parents or siblings, grandparents, aunties and uncles living there – they have all been affected and are hoping for the best,” Woolf continued.
“The reason the players make the sacrifices they do to play for Tonga is the chance to make their families proud.
“The time will come to represent Tonga at the World Cup, and hopefully we can put some smiles on their faces.”