When Mal Meninga woke up on Monday morning and saw that Blake Ferguson was in trouble with the police and Josh Dugan has been out with his good buddy on the drink before they went into NSW State Of Origin camp, he must have thought all his Christmas’ come at once.
Granted, as a Queenslander Christmas means sitting around a BBQ, waving flies away and playing your banjo, but still, he must have been pretty happy. Meninga had to deal with Ben Te’o’s off field distractions in State Of Origin one and the word coming out of the Queensland camp the who time was that Te’o didn’t have his head in the game. That seemed to play out on the night as Te’o didn’t see too much game time.
Meninga saw it as an opportunity to stick the knife into the NSW side, which he has every right to do, and to then make a stand in terms of the way Rugby League was having its image tarnished by a minority of players that can’t handle their drink.
“As much as we want to see Josh Dugan playing our game, I don’t agree with that (his return) so soon.”
“I don’t agree that’s the way of rewarding his bad behaviour.”
“One club has made a decision (to sack him) and all of a sudden another club picks him up because they need him.
“They don’t make a decision on behaviour – they make a decision on his playing ability.
“I’m not criticising Josh’s ability; we want him to come back and play, but not so soon.
“My immediate thought is if you are going to suspend someone or deregister, do it for a number of years.
“Look at Todd Carney as an example; he had to work for a living, go to the Atherton Roosters and see the other side of life.
“Let them work for a living for a change. When a club cuts a player because of (bad) behaviour, the game should be sticking up for the clubs . . . “
Mal had a lot more to say, I suggest you click the link!
I agree wholeheartedly with Big Mal. He echoed a lot of the points I’ve made the last couple of days on this very web site!
Anyway, after Meninga had his say he went out that night and got pissed.
Wait….what the hell?
Thats right, Mal Meninga was asked to leave a pub in Brisbane just hours after being critical of players that tarnish the games image.
Now, for the most part this is all a storm in a tea cup. Nothing much really happened, he was simply asked to leave the pub and he left. The thing is, you would think that Meninga would have better judgement, especially as he took the moral high ground on players embarrassing the game just hours earlier.
I’m not saying Meninga did anything wrong, but don’t you think in the current environment the last think anyone in Rugby League wants to do is go out to a pub and get pissed? Don’t you think it would be smart to completely remove any opportunity for you to join the headlines that other players have made and be lumped in for even having just one too many?
I thought that would be common sense, but it seems not.
If a veteran of the sport like Mal Meninga can’t make the decision to keep away from the drink in the current climate, what chance that a 21 year old player is going to make the right decision and take it easy for a while.
Its really disappointing. Mal Meninga should have known better.