Mal Meninga

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Career Stats & Summary

Vital Statistics

Full Name
Malcolm Norman Meninga
Nickname(s)
Big Mal
Born
Friday, 8th July, 1960
Current Age
54 years and 109 days
Place Of Birth
Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

Awards & Accolades

1989
Golden Boot Award
1990
Dally M Centre Of The Year
1990
RLW Player of the Year
1991
Dally M Centre Of The Year
1994
Dally M Captain Of The Year

Biography

Mal Meninga's career achievements stand like a colossus in the code. The shy teenager who developed into one of the finest Australian captains in international sport, first represented Queensland U'18s while playing for Wide Bay in 1977. The following year Meninga was graded with Souths Brisbane and made his State debut in 1979. His seven goals from seven attempts in the first State of Origin match in 1980 is still an individual goals record. In 1981 he resisted a huge offer from Easts to remain in Brisbane and made the first of an Australian record 45 Test appearances when selected as a centre against NZ in the Second Test in Sydney in 1982. His debut was inauspicious - dislocating his elbow after 28 minutes of play - but he made the first of a record four Kangaroo Tours at year's end. Meninga played in all 6 Tests against Papua New Guinea, Great Britain and France, and was a mainstay of both the Queensland and Australian teams for the next decade. Meninga played against NZ in 1983 (a rare loss), Great Britain in 1984, and held his place on the troubled tour of NZ in 1985 before spending a highly successful season with St Helens. After inspiring Souths Brisbane to grand final success in 1985, Meninga signed with the Canberra Raiders. He was a reserve forward in the 1986 Trans Tasman series and for the first two Tests against Great Britain on the 1986 Kangaroo Tour before gaining a place in Australia’s Third Test team – as a second row forward! The 1987 season was the start of an horrendous eighteen-month period in which he broke his arm four times (starting with a sickening collision with a goal-post in a match against Manly at Seiffert Oval). After breaking his arm again in his return match against Penrith, Meninga made his comeback in the club’s win over Easts in the final and played 60 minutes of the Raiders' grand final loss to Manly. In 1988 he broke the arm again, missing the series against Great Britain, but took on Papua New Guinea and the Rest of the World late in the season only to suffer a fourth break. These injuries would have forced a lesser player into retirement but for Meninga, the best was yet to come. Taking over as Canberra captain, he led the 'Green Machine' to successive grand final victories in 1989-90 and was the season's leading point-scorer in 1990 with 212pts (17t, 72g). His great leadership made him the logical choice to take over the Australian Test captaincy from the injured Wally Lewis in 1990. Meninga's first match as captain was against France at Parkes and he went on to lead the Kangaroos (in Lewis’ absence) at the end of the year. Faced with the prospect of losing the Ashes after Australia's defeat in the First Test, Meninga produced a gem of a try to win the Second Test in Manchester - those who watched the giant centre shoulder his opponents out of the way to take the inside pass from Ricky Stuart will surely never forget it. The eventual Ashes series success was capped when he was named the winner of the Adidas 'Golden Boot' award as best international player. In the three Test series that followed (against NZ in 1991 and Great Britain in 1992 and 1994), Australia had to fight back after losing a Test but more than anything, Meninga's ability to lead by example provided the impetus to victory. After leading Australia on a ground-breaking tour of Papua New Guinea in 1991, Meninga surpassed Reg Gasnier's record of 36 Test caps in the Third Test against Great Britain in Brisbane in 1992. The following year he was cited and suspended for a tackle on Manly's John Devereaux, forcing him to miss the First Test against NZ in Auckland, but he returned to lead Australia to another Trans Tasman series victory. In 1994, his final year as a player, Meninga set himself the herculean task of becoming the first player to lead successive Kangaroo Tours. Awarded the OAM in January, he started the season slowly and looked tentative in Queensland’s third straight State of Origin defeat (as captain, this was one honour that eluded him during a marvellous career). But by grand final time he was again in superlative form and his barnstorming, intercept try sealed Canberra's 36-12 win over C’bury. Australian fans had given him a rousing farewell in the 56-0 hiding dished out to France at P’matta Stadium but the First Test loss at Wembley again raised concerns that, at almost 35 years of age, Meninga may be asking too much of himself. Like all true champions he answered his critics with an inspiring display in the remaining two Tests to capture his third Ashes win as captain (another record, tied with Wally Lewis). Meninga's final Test match was the record 74-0 win over France in which he scored the last of Australia's 13 tries. On tour he surpassed Keith Holman's record for Test matches against Great Britain (17 Tests) after earlier becoming Australia's leading point-scorer in Ashes Tests (108pts). Retiring as the greatest point-scorer in Test football (272pts), he also holds two individual Canberra club records; most points in a match (38pts - 5t, 9g against Easts in 1991) and most tries in a match (5, in the same match). Meninga's defection to Super League in 1995 so soon after the Kangaroo Tour was a major coup for the breakaway movement but his comment at a public forum at Cronulla (‘I played league for 16 years and what have I got to show for it?') was both tactless and thoughtless. He recovered his reputation quickly though, and was named Tim Sheens’ successor as Canberra coach in 1996. Meninga’s five seasons at the helm of the Raiders brought little success but in 2006 he returned to the coaching ranks with a vengeance, taking Queensland to its first State of Origin series victory in five years. Biographies, Big Mal (1990), Mal Meninga: From Super Star to Super League (1995) and Mal Meninga: My Life in Football (1995).

- ALAN WHITICKER

Career Statistics

All statistics shown in this section are based only on data available in the RLP database, and are not necessarily a complete and/or 100% accurate representation of a player's career. This information should be used as a guide only. If you see a question mark (?), it denotes that the figure is not available.

To view a list of corresponding matches, click on the Match list icon.

International

Test Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1982-86, 1988-94 46 21 99   - 278 40 6 0 86.96% Match list
Overall 1982-1994 46 21 99   0 278 40 6 0 86.96% Match list

International Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1982-1994 2 1 3   - 10 2 0 0 100.00% Match list
Overall 1988-1994 2 1 3   0 10 2 0 0 100.00% Match list

World Cup Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1982-1992 13 9 21   - 78 12 1 0 92.31% Match list
Overall 1985-1992 13 9 21   0 78 12 1 0 92.31% Match list


Representative

Australia - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Brisbane Firsts 1979, 1981, 1983 3 - 9   - 18 0 3 0 0.00% Match list
QLD Firsts 1979-81 6 3 9   - 27 0 6 0 0.00% Match list
Queensland 1980-86, 1989-94 32 6 69   - 161 15 17 0 46.88% Match list
Overall 1979-1994 41 9 87   0 206 15 26 0 36.59% Match list


Club Career

Australian League Matches - By Year

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Canberra NSWRL 1986 20 3 65 / 91 71.43% 1 143 8 11 1 40.00% Match list
Canberra NSWRL 1987 12 6 34 / 48 70.83% 1 93 7 5 0 58.33% Match list
Canberra NSWRL 1988 5 3 7 / 13 53.85% - 26 4 1 0 80.00% Match list
Canberra NSWRL 1989 16 2 19 / 29 65.52% - 46 13 3 0 81.25% Match list
Canberra NSWRL 1990 24 17 72 / 113 63.72% - 212 17 6 1 70.83% Match list
Canberra NSWRL 1991 22 13 57 / 100 57.00% - 166 15 7 0 68.18% Match list
Canberra NSWRL 1992 21 6 17 / 31 54.84% - 58 10 11 0 47.62% Match list
Canberra NSWRL 1993 20 11 4 / 14 28.57% - 52 13 6 1 65.00% Match list
Canberra NSWRL 1994 26 13 8 / 20 40.00% - 68 20 6 0 76.92% Match list
Overall 1986-1994 ? 74 283 / 459 61.66% 2 864 ? ? ? ?  

Australian League Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Canberra 1986-94 166 74 283 / 459 61.66% 2 864 107 56 3 64.46% Match list
Overall 1986-1994 ? 74 283 / 459 61.66% 2 864 ? ? ? ?  

Australian Finals Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Canberra 1986-1994 19 9 33   - 102 13 6 0 68.42% Match list
Overall 1987-1994 19 9 33   0 102 13 6 0 68.42% Match list

All Australian Club Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Canberra 1986-94 167 75 283   2 868 120 63 3 71.86% Match list
Overall 1986-1994 ? 75 283   2 868 ? ? ? ?  

English League Career - By Year

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
St Helens Championship 1984/85 ? 22 3   - 94  
Overall 1984-1985 ? 28 8   0 128 ? ? ? ?  

English League Career - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
St Helens 1984-85 ? 28 8   - 128 ? ? ? ?  
Overall 1984-1985 ? 28 8   0 128 ? ? ? ?  

Your Say

Jason Ganter says: One of the most inspirational players and men in the games history.. I had the pleasure of meeting Big Mal, had a quick chat and shook his hand, which only backed up my thoughts. (28/04/2009)

The Defenstrator says: On the 1982 Kangaroo 'Invincibles' tour, Meninga put the best fend I have ever seen on tough English forward Rose, upending and knocking him backwards a metre and a half! (10/05/2012)

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Last modified: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:45:46 +1100 (Sydney time)