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By Nick Cascone

Written by Nick Cascone,

Mal Meninga was born on the 8th of July 1960 in Bundaberg QLD. His father was a South Sea Islander and his mother was Australian-born of Scottish parents. Mal Meninga's triumphant career lasted for 16 years from 1979 to 1994. He played over 460 first grade games for state, club and country.

From the time he was young he was bound for greatness. He started from humble beginnings and worked hard to become the best centre in the world has ever seen. (Bar Reg Gasnier)

Wayne Bennett (now the Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australian coach), an instructor at the Police Academy in which Mal was training first realised how much potential Mal really had. Wayne took Mal under his wing and guided Mal in the write direction and that is one of the main reasons Mal was to become a force in Rugby League. Wayne is one of Mal's best mates to this day.

When Mal was a youngster he would get hassled a lot about his skin colour. Even though he was not an aboriginal, he was quite often mistaken for one because he was dark skinned. He was a very big boy. Because of his size, he would have to play Rugby in a higher age group.

Half way through the season of 1994, Mal decided that at the end of this season he would hang up his boots for good. And on the 25th of September on last game of the year, he was sent out a winner when the 'MIGHTY' Canberra Raiders won the New South Wales Rugby League Grand Final by defeating the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, 36-12. Mal scored the last try of the match. He intercepted a long cutout pass and out ran Jarred McCraken to score a memorable 40-meter try. He was also named as captain of the Australian Kangaroos on the tour of Great Britain. Once again, this champion of the game was once again sent out a winner when Australia defeated Great Britain 2 tests to 1. Thus retaining the ashes once again.

He played his last game of Rugby League for Australia on the 4th of December 1994 in Beziers, France against France with a world record win of 74-0. With Mal getting over the line from one of his trade mark bustling runs up the middle.

Now days, Mal is the coach of the Canberra Raiders. He has had great success in this his 3rd season as a coach. He is also part owner in a kids trading card magazine called 'Card Crazy'.



Mal Meninga captained every team he played for in his first class career of 16 years. These teams included the Queensland Maroons, South Brisbane Magpies, Canberra Raiders, Australian Kangaroos and the English side, St Helens whom he played in the 1984-85 season. In which he had great success.

Here are the team emblems that Mal Meninga wore with distinction throughout his phenomenal career.



He captained Australia to 2 out of 2 ashes victories but he toured 4 times. (1982, 1986, 1990 captained and 1994 captained) He was part of the 'Invincibles' side the toured England in which every game was won.



He captained the Canberra Raiders to 3 premiership wins in 89, 90 and 94. He was also a great inspiration to the younger players making their way up to first grade.



He captained the Queensland Maroons to many series victory's in the State of Origin series against New South Wales. He is also the record holder for the most appearances in a Queensland jumper and the highest point scorer.



Mal Meninga has achieved so many things in his career it's not funny! He was awarded an 'Order of Australia medal' in 1991, and awarded an 'Australia Day award' in 1995. He was named in January 1996 the coach of the Australian Super League Kangaroo team. The list goes on and on!

Here is Mal's team photo for the Raiders for season 97.




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