Mal Meninga confirmed as new Kangaroos coach

Mal Meninga

They wanted a full-time coach in the role that could devote all their time to the Australian Kangaroos side and they have one, with the NRL appointing Mal Meninga as the new head coach.

The ARL Commission made the decision to appoint the former QLD Origin coach as the successor to Tim Sheens, up until 2019.

Known for his exploits as a barnstorming player and then as an Origin winning coach with Queensland over numerous years, the role also includes ambassadorial responsibilities.

“Mal’s work with us starts today – so it is a very important day for the Kangaroos,” said the NRL’s Head of Football, Mr Todd Greenberg said.

“Our aim is to win the Rugby League World Cup in 2017 and the job officially begins now.”

For the man himself, coaching the Kangaroos was always an ambition of his.

“For the players, it is the ultimate privilege to the wear the colours of your country, and it is something that they all aspire to,” Meninga said.

“For me, it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It is truly an honour to be in this position, as the new coach of the Kangaroos.”

The role will also see Meninga work closely with the development of the junior Kangaroos, the Jillaroos and the Australian Schoolboys programs.

“Mal’s reputation as a player and as a coach, and also as a figure in our game, is second-to-none,” Mr Greenberg said.

“This is an incredibly exciting appointment for the Kangaroos.

“We feel that Mal’s appointment will ensure that playing for the Kangaroos is the pinnacle of a player’s career, which is the way it should be.”

The endorsements for Meninga continued, with Greenberg praising Meninga for his success as a coach.

“The progression of Mal from one of the most successful Queensland coaches ever to the Australian coaching position is an appropriate one for the game,” said Greenberg.

“Playing for the Kangaroos should be the greatest honour a player can have and Mal will no doubt bring that mentality to the squad.”

With the Kangaroos side struggling somewhat in recent years at an international level, their revamp and restructure is part of the plan to get them back to their international peak.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to improve the Kangaroos program, developing emerging and high-performance players including the Junior Kangaroos and Australian Schoolboys along the way,” Meninga said.

Current Australian captain and QLD Origin hooker Cameron Smith also praised the move.

“I couldn’t think of a coach more suited to this role, given Mal’s achievements as a former Kangaroos captain and his understanding of what representing Australia means,” Smith said.

“He has a proven record at representative level, as well as a tremendous ability to help his players perform at the highest level.”

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