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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Mal Meninga admits to feeling shift in international rugby league

Fiji has tipped the Rugby League World Cup on its head, and now Australian coach Mal Meninga admits he can feel a change in the wind.

He was almost immovable as a player, but Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga admits even he’s felt the tectonic plates of rugby league shifting.

The Rugby League World Cup has come alive after New Zealand’s spectacular elimination, becoming the first tier-one nation to lose to a second-tier not once but twice following defeats by first Tonga and then Fiji.

And ahead of Australia’s semi-final against Fiji on Friday, Meninga believes times are changing.

“There’s been a shift I reckon. Look at our numbers that play in the NRL, I think something like 38 per cent are Pacific Islander,” Meninga said in Brisbane.

“So yeah, there is a shift in our game and that all goes well for the pacific nations and international rugby league.

“It’s just another stark example of people realising how strong the NRL competition is and what it’s doing for other nations.”

Meninga said he wasn’t surprised his men won’t be facing the Kiwis in the final- four clash following their shock defeat to the Bati last week.

“We know how passionate, how committed (Fiji) are to the cause. There’s great belief in their footy team so we’ll make sure we prepare really well,” he said.

Meninga confirmed Will Chambers will be a certain starter at Suncorp Stadium after the centre missed Tuesday’s main training run of the week with a toe injury.

Chambers broke his toe in their pool win over Lebanon and has since been on light duties.

“When you run it takes a fair bit of impact. From there, we just gauge it every session. If it’s a little bit sore we’ll rest him,” Meninga said.

“But he’ll be right to train in the captain’s run, which he did last week and he’ll be right to play.”

Meninga also doubled down on his criticism of Fiji star Jarryd Hayne a few weeks ago, when he claimed Hayne would let Gold Coast down if he left to take up a deal at a rival NRL club.

It is being reported Hayne has already agreed on a move to Parramatta.

Asked if he expected his comments to motivate Hayne, Meninga said: “Not really. “I’m very happy with my 24. I’ve got no regrets whatsoever.

“Moving forward, again we respect them. But we’re there to play a great game of rugby league and play with great passion in the green and gold jersey.


SOURCE: NEWS.COM.AU/PACNEWS

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 12:56 PM. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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