Sport: PNG Rugby League disappointed by Meninga
PNG Rugby League disappointed Kumuls coach didn't tell them he had accepted the Kangaroos job.
Papua New Guinea Rugby League say they're disappointed Mal Meninga did not give them a heads up before accepting the Australian coaching job.
Meninga has been employed as the organisation's Performance Director since 2013 and is contracted to coach the Kumuls until the 2017 World Cup.
PNG Rugby League CEO, Bob Cutmore, told Vinnie Wylie he's disappointed they found out the news second-hand.
BOB CUTMORE: Congratulations have to go to Mal for his appointment. If you get offered to coach any national team in your home country it should always be a priority. It's a wonderful reward for everything he's put into rugby league. Where it sits with us as PNG is a different kettle of fish. I am disappointed because the office hasn't heard anything from Mal regarding his appointment. That could be just an oversight and I could well imagine that in the time but 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 with us.
VINNIE WYLIE: Because his contract as it stands is through until the World Cup?
BC: Basically, yes. It was a role as national coach and performance director so the current contract still stands until I actually get notified from him, or his management team, that he has accepted the contract with the Australian Rugby League and his contract here is terminated but I haven't officially been informed of that yet. He's made the right decision for his career and I've got no problem with that and I congratulate him and wish him all the best for that but it still worries me a bit that you would think that somewhere in his management team and his minders they would have the courtesy to properly inform us. I assume they informed Queensland Rugby League what they were doing prior to the announcement, it would have been nice for us to know.
VW: With all the speculation or assumptions going around since Tim Sheens stepped down from the role and Mal Meninga was obviously being touted as a leading candidate, did you anticipate a conversation at some point?
BC: He was up here ten days ago and the discussions we had that day was he hadn't made up his mind. As far as he was concerned at that stage he was still contracted to us because I did ask him [about] everything I read in the paper - he said yeah I have been approached but there's no final decision yet. He was up here on the 8th and 9th of November.
VW: Have you had any time to think about the fact you, presumably, have to find a replacement now?
BC: I have for a while. It hasn't been discussed at board level [but] we've had general discussions around the fact so we have another board meeting in January [at] which it will be discussed. Our first commitment as a PNG Kumuls team will be the Pacific Test in Sydney on May 7th next year so we have enough time. My personal preference - it's not the preference of the board or it's not the preference of anybody else in PNG is we should appoint a national Papua New Guinean and then we just get a number of mentors who can possibly assist in that manner.
VW: Have you got any names in the back of your head?
BC: I do but I can't say. Well it stands to reason to me, Vinnie, that our top coach at the moment is Michael Marum, who's doing a really great job with the Queensland Cup side. He probably deserves the opportunity to coach the Kumuls on a one-off basis and whether he wants someone to assist him in that role, during that short period of time [is up to him]. He's only going to have the players together for a week because most of our players are committed - whether with NRL clubs or Q-Cup clubs - the week prior to the test so that will be a decision that the board will make.
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