Mal Meninga

Coaching Career

Vital Statistics

Full Name
Malcolm Norman Meninga
Big Mal
Friday, 8th July, 1960
Current Age
63 years and 81 days
Place Of Birth
Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

Awards & Accolades

Dally M Representative Player Of The Year
Golden Boot Award
Dally M Centre Of The Year
1990, 1991
RLW Player of the Year
Dally M Captain Of The Year
1991, 1994
International Hall Of Fame
National Rugby League Hall Of Fame

Known Family Links

Joey Meninga
Norman Meninga


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).

Coaching 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 List button.


Competition   Games W L D Win %  
NRL 125 66 57 2 52.80% List
NRL Finals 7 3 4 0 42.86% List
State of Origin 30 20 10 0 66.67% List
Anzac Tests 2 2 0 0 100.00% List
Four Nations 4 4 0 0 100.00% List
All Stars 1 0 1 0 0.00% List
World Cup 12 12 0 0 100.00% List


Test Matches - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Papua New Guinea 2014-15 2 1 1 0 50.00% List
Australia 2016-19, 2022 23 21 2 0 91.30% List
Overall2014-2022 25 22 3 0 88.00% List

World Cup Matches - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Australia 2016-2022 12 12 0 0 100.00% List


Australia - By Team

Team Years Games W L D Win %  
QLD 2006-15 30 20 10 0 66.67% List
NRL 2017 1 0 1 0 0.00% List
Overall2006-2017 31 20 11 0 64.52% List

Club Career


Team Season Games W L D Win %  
Canberra Super League 1997 21 12 9 0 57.14% List
Canberra NRL 1998 26 16 10 0 61.54% List
Canberra NRL 1999 24 13 10 1 54.17% List
Canberra NRL 2000 28 16 12 0 57.14% List
Canberra NRL 2001 26 9 16 1 34.62% List


Team Years Games W L D Win %  
Canberra 1997-01 125 66 57 2 52.80% List

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)

Anonymous says: Mal was perhaps the hardest charging runner of the ball in recent NRL history. What Jonah Lomu was to rugby union, Mal was to rugby league. (30/08/2013)

Anonymous says: Before there was jonah lomu,there was big mal meninga just as big, just as lethal, awesome sight (16/10/2017)

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Contributions: Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson, Paul Carter, Rugby League Tables, Steven Russo, Greg Fiveash, Bill Bates, AJ Lucantonio

Sources: Irvin Saxton's Record Keepers' Club, Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1985-86