Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Australian Kangaroos head coach Mal Meninga is synonymous with Queensland Rugby League and the Queensland Maroons.
The Bundaberg native would play over 100 first grade games for the Souths Logan Magpies in the Brisbane Rugby League Premiership from 1979 to 1985 before making the move to Canberra where he would cement his Rugby League legacy at the Raiders, with the Immortal also one of State of Origin’s greatest players, representing the Maroons on 33 occasions between 1980 and 1994, winning many a series during that time.
Meninga would of course also go on to coach the Queensland State of Origin side between 2006 and 2015, winning a total of nine shields in ten series, making him arguably the greatest Origin coach of all time.
As a coach, Meninga has since been promoted to the Australian national team, leading the Kangaroos to a Rugby League World Cup tournament victory in 2017; however, the 61-year-old’s love for Queensland has remained strong, but it seems Meninga will not have anything to do with the Maroons for the foreseeable future.
Due to a conflict of interest, ARLC chairman Peter V’landys has stepped in and banned Meninga from taking on a mentoring role with the Maroons.
Queensland Rugby League had planned to bring Meninga back to the Queensland State of Origin set up as its senior mentor alongside potential head coach Billy Slater, who the QRL have offered a three-year deal to, with the QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher since putting out a statement.
— Pete Badel (@badel_cmail) September 14, 2021
“I am disappointed,” Hatcher said.
“This one is one where Mal deserves to take the Kangaroos to England (for the World Cup next year). He can’t jeopardise his position.
“We will work something out where he can have a less formal role. Our whole notion was for him to go into camp and spend the whole time in camp.
“He won’t be able to do that.”
Bruce Hatcher has also confirmed that Billy Slater is yet to sign their contract offer.
“The ball is in Billy’s court. He has to come back to us and accept the position,” Hatcher said.
“In Billy’s case, the QRL and his manager need to work out a deal.
“We’re looking at a three-year contract, it would be two years with a one-year option.
“Billy and his manager are the ones considering all issues, so we just have to wait.”
It will be interesting to see how the banning of Meninga will impact the QRL’s pursuit of Slater.