Burly playmaker John Asiata will make his Tongan debut at five-eighth as the side sweats on the availability of Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita ahead of Saturday's Test with New Zealand in Auckland.
The forward-turned-five eighth was named at No.6 on Tuesday and is set to partner English Super League talent Tuimoala Lolohea in the halves.
It is another chapter in a remarkable season for the North Queensland utility, who has excelled since being thrust back into the halves by coach Paul Green.
Brisbane centre Kotoni Staggs will also start in his international debut, while Manly hooker Manase Fainu and Sydney Roosters backrower Sitili Tupouniua will earn their first Tongan caps off the bench.
Fifita has been named to start in the front row, pending an NRL judiciary hearing on Tuesday night.
The Sharks star's crusher tackle on Canberra's Ryan Sutton is set to earn him a three-match suspension unless his legal team can argue successful for a downgraded charge.
It will be the first encounter between the sides since Tonga upset the Kiwis in the 2017 World Cup.
That tournament - and international rugby league - was sparked to life by the decisions of Fifita and Jason Taumalolo to turn their backs on Australia and New Zealand to pursue careers with the Pacific nation.
Taumalolo is relishing the chance to run out in Tongan colours again.
"The Tongan crowd really lift us and make us play harder," he said.
"When we hear the Tongan supporters cheering or singing hymns it gives the players an extra burst of energy."
Australian Associated Press