Mal Meninga was one of the frontmen who caused the VB Blues so much pain and heartache in recent times, but, despite that, the former Maroons mentor made an appearance at last night’s NSW True Blues celebration at The Star.
Meninga has put his Queensland allegiances aside in his new role as Australian Kangaroos coach, and his presence at the dinner was a sign of utmost respect by the Rugby League legend.
“We’re all Rugby League people so that’s first and foremost, we all love the game of Rugby League regardless of where your allegiances lie,” Meninga told NSWRL.com.au.
“I’m the current Australian coach, so it’s important that I show my face.
“That’s out of respect as opposed to anything else, because I know how much it means to the Blues to win an interstate series, but at the end of the day everyone wants to play for Australia.”
Meninga – sporting a diplomatic blue and maroon tie - assured VB Blues fans that they do not need to worry about their players' selections or non-selections for the national side, promising a fair and balanced process for the upcoming ANZAC test and beyond.
“I’m very honoured and privileged to be the Australian coach, and that means it’s an all incumbency role – there’s no bias, there’s no taking sides, it’s a very neutral position,” Meninga explained.
“When it comes down to selecting the Australian side, we’ll pick the best players, regardless of what background they are from, where they were born or where they live.
“I think it’s an important part of taking the Australian position seriously.”
The NSWRL gratefully appreciates Mal’s presence at the NSW True Blues dinner, and cannot wait to see some current VB Blues donning the green and gold jersey come 6 May.