Maroons mentor Mal Meninga wants to go again
STATE of Origin's most successful coach Mal Meninga is poised to extend his reign as Queensland mentor to usher in a changing of the guard following a highly successful decade at the helm.
Meninga, who played 32 games for Queensland and who until recently was its all-time leading point scorer, has coached the Maroons 27 times for an 18-9 game-winning record to go with an amazing 8-1 series record.
He was the man who put the maroon spirit back in the Queensland jumper in 2006 as NSW threatened to win a fourth straight series and sound Origin's death knell.
Meninga's passion in the maroon jumper and his belief Queensland needed to return to its early Origin years when pride and mateship were the glue, proved a winning formula with a lot of former players joining his camps. The 54-year-old, who has just become a father again and is angling to move back to Brisbane from Canberra, indicated last year he may move on after 10 years in the job.
But he revealed while launching a "Be Maroon, Be Healthy" campaign with a major supermarket chain in Brisbane promoting fruit as a good alternative diet for young children, that he was already in discussion with the Queensland Rugby League about extending his contract.
"I am enjoying it at the moment," Meninga said.
"When you look at it in the scheme of things and the end of this year I've coached 30 games and that's one year of footy."
Origin games, though, are more like grand finals than club games.
"We (QLR) are in discussions at the moment but it's been put on the backburner for now because I am trying to move back to Queensland get my life in order," Meninga said.
"I've always said if the players are happy having me around to coach them or being part of the team with them, then I am happy to continue.
"At the end of the day I'll ask the players how things are going and how they fit with everything, that's how we've evolved over the year, by talking about things.
Meninga again endorsed the claims of Brisbane prop Josh McGuire off the bench and also said strapping Rooster Dylan Napa was in the mix along with Newcastle forward Korbin Sims.
He said if Broncos centre Justin Hodges was over his hamstring issues he would get an Origin farewell, while Darius Boyd would also be picked regardless of whether he plays before the May 27 series opener in Sydney.