Don’t panic, Mal Meninga can get ‘Dad’s Army’ right

MAL Meninga played 46 Tests for the Kangaroos and captained them 24 times, but I suggest he might be one ex-player not too unhappy that Australia was well beaten in last Sunday's Anzac Test.

Sure there were a few in the green and gold who performed well below par, but the biggest flops were three of the big four.

While they could never be accused of not having a go, Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk were as ineffective at Test level as at any time during their illustrious careers.

And prop Mat Scott, so often the cornerstone of the Kangaroos' pack, returned stats which no doubt will be an embarrassment to him, albeit given scant field time.

The common denominator in these below-par performances from key players is that they were from

Queenslanders, and no-one would have been more acutely aware of that than Meninga, the Maroons Origin coach.

So why then, would big Mal not be totally devastated by the below par performances?

Why would he not be scratching his head this week concerned about which Maroons might be on the way out?

Yes he would be worried, but he is also the man in the right place to make certain it doesn't happen again.

Whether it was complacency, a loss of hunger or simply a bad night, the likelihood of Inglis, Thurston, Scott and Cronk all again playing poorly on the same stage is remote.

But maybe the writing is on the wall.

For some time now the critics of Queensland's super-human team of the past decade have been playing the 'too old' card.

And no-one can argue that the cold, hard facts don't support the naysayers.

Of the probable team to line-up against the Blues in Origin One in three weeks, seven of them - Thurston, Cronk, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Justin Hodges, Jacob Lillyman and Corey Parker - are 30-plus, while Scott, Sam Thaiday and Nate Myles will turn 30 before the series is over.

But in this era of totally professional sport, age is not the barrier it once was and 30 is no longer old.

And if anyone in the game has the smarts to reignite these so-called decaying Queenslanders, it's Big Mal, who played until he was 34 - and that was 20 years ago.

As if last year's first loss in nine series was not enough motivation, now the coach has another button to push.

Yes, yes, yes

THE sooner we revert to one referee and less video calls - as was the case over the rep weekend - the better.

No, no, no

PARRAMATTA winger Bureta Faraimo scored three tries against the Broncos in round seven, but has been dropped. Go figure.



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