Meninga courts Kangaroos coaching position
Mal Meninga is in a win-win situation as he courts the top job in rugby league, coaching the Kangaroos.
The Maroons mentor is by no means a certainty to walk into the national coaching job vacated this year by long-serving Australian coach Tim Sheens, who has taken a coaching role with UK Super League battlers Salford. But
Meninga is in the box seat to win the role despite the quality of the candidates, which include Brisbane's seven-time NRL premiership winner Wayne Bennett, highly-regarded Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy and unemployed ex-Manly coach Geoff Toovey.
The NRL is in the process of screening and interviewing prospective replacements for Sheens, with Meninga a strong favourite on the back of nine State of Origin series wins in the past decade, apart from the fact he has no club allegiances like Bennett and Bellamy.
Meninga's decision to delay signing a new three-year QRL deal after reclaiming the Origin crown in July, has him in a position where he has nothing to lose if he misses the Australian job. The QRL's new deal was reportedly worth close to $1 million dollars.
Unless the NRL was prepared to make the Australian Kangaroos job a full-time position worth around $300,000-a-year, Meninga would have to take a massive pay cut as Sheens reportedly received $50,000 for doing the job this year.
Bennett is understood to be very keen to have another shot at coaching Australia after leaving the job in 2005 when trounced 26-0 by New Zealand in the Tri-Nations final. It was the Kangaroos' biggest loss in almost 100 years.
Brisbane has no objection to Bennett doing both jobs, which would be the same scenario with Bellamy and Melbourne Storm.