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MMT supporters receive ‘death threats’ after PNG’s loss to Tonga

Tonga’s victory over PNG’s  Kumuls rugby league team has sparked an overreaction on social media, with the Mate Ma’a Tonga (MMT)  fans receiving death threats and abuse online.

Tonga had survived a scare at the hands of Papua New Guinea to claim a 24-18 Rugby League World Cup win on Wednesday.

Following the game Tongan supporters took to social media to celebrate but at the same time some received offensive messages and posts in what appeared to be from their rival fans.

Some of those posts and messages included threatening to “murder any Tongans in PNG” after the game, and a name of what appeared to be a Tongan priest in that country was mentioned.

The threats had been taken seriously by some Tongan Facebook groups which said they stopped posting anything that could further escalate the situation because they did not want any innocent Tongans in PNG to be targeted.

The 24-18 defeat in front of 10,409 fans was heartbreaking for the PNG side after its captain Rhys Martin  converted to square the game at 18-18 late in the second half.

Isaiya Katoa missed the chance to put Tonga ahead with a 75th-minute penalty but, to his relief, his side didn’t need it with Keaon Koloamatangi’s late try giving Tonga the lead.

The next assignment for Mate Ma’a Tonga is against Wales at Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens on October 25 (5.30am AEDT) while the Kumuls face Cook Islands the following day in Warrington.