Despite being the favourite for the position of Kangaroo’s coach, Mal Meninga isn’t the right choice to take the team forward.
After Tim Sheens resigned from the role to take up the job of director at English club Salford, the Kangaroos need a coach capable of rebuilding a team if they want to compete with New Zealand.
Although Meninga has overseen an unprecedented dynasty at Origin level, his ability to break a team apart and successfully rebuild it remains in question.
While it could be argued that he hasn’t needed to, last year’s Origin loss was the perfect chance to blood some younger players. The Maroon’s won the following series, but Sheens’ similar selection process for Australia wasn’t successful against the dominant Kiwis.
The man who Meninga is competing with for the job has a proven track record of rebuilding teams. The Kiwis being one of those teams.
Part of Stephen Kearney’s backroom staff as New Zealand won the 2008 World Cup, Wayne Bennett helped instigate New Zealand’s current successes.
Although the rules that are in place would mean that Bennett would have to resign from his position with the Broncos, the NRL should make an exception to that rule.
This past season Bennett was able to showcase his talents as the best coach in the game as he transformed a team of youngsters into a formidable side. Despite narrowly losing to the Cowboys in the Grand Final, the Broncos are on an upward trajectory and will be able to compete for Premierships in upcoming seasons.
There is no doubt a similar revamp needs to happen for the Kangaroos. The lineup for the emphatic defeat in this year’s ANZAC test was the Kangaroos’ third oldest team in history.
Despite Meninga having a great record for Queensland and being the easy choice for the role, Australia needs Bennett to take the job to become the dominant national team once again.