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‘Demigod’ Mal Meninga explains why he quit the Kumuls

Mal MeningaSTEVE MASCORD | Fairfax Media | Edited extracts

MAL Meninga has broken his silence on allegations he callously walked out on Papua New Guinea mid-contract to take the Australian coaching job, saying, "I just didn't get paid".

The fact Meninga beat Wayne Bennett to the Australian post wasn't the only controversial aspect of the appointment.

At the time he was offered the job, the former Australia captain already had a Test coaching position – in a country where he is considered a demigod.

PNG Rugby League chief executive Bob Cutmore said in December: "It is a bit disappointing to me that we haven't been officially informed that he was going to take the position when he has a current contract from us."

But speaking to Fairfax Media in Birmingham, England, Meninga said, "I just didn't get paid. It's a simple as that.

"At the same time, I was offered a position with the Australian team. Because those obligations weren't fulfilled, from a legal point of view I was able to move on.

"That was propagating the game up there. They're a tier two team. They needed some help. We went up there to help generate funds and revenue to keep it going.

"We actually helped get them [PNG Hunters] into the Intrust Super Cup in Queensland. It was about that, trying to improve the program."

The PNG Kumuls situation has been used by fans defending Wayne Bennett against accusations from Meninga that Bennett, now the England coach, had tried to sabotage him.

Asked why he had waited so long to defend himself, Meninga answered, "Why should I do it? You don't gain anything from that."


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Mathias Kin

The truth after 12 months. And what became of all that money earmarked for the contract engagement of Meninga? Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko should spare us a line here.

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