Why Mal Meninga’s appointment at Souths is a ‘disaster waiting to happen’

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A monumental club in a monumental mess calls for a coach of monumental ingenuity, and that’s why everyone’s shocked Mal Meninga could join the Rabbitohs.

After weeks of upheaval at Souths, the league legend is the hot tip to be parachuted in to the war zone at Redfern to turn around the side’s fortunes, or at the very least, restore it to being fit for TV again.

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While Meninga has only been sounded out as a caretaker coach for the remainder of 2024, it is a marriage that has raised the eyebrows of the rugby league public.

First things first; nobody denies the great man’s gravitas as a footballing colossus.

He’s a multiple premiership winner and former national captain, and his Immortal status is richly deserved.

But his reputation as a coaching guru is as pokey as his political career.

That’s because the bulk of Meninga’s body of work has been overseeing Queensland and the Kangaroos, two jobs akin to steering a driverless car.

As we know, these two sides not only pick themselves, they beat opponents on muscle memory.

That’s meant the big fella’s only job as coach was to rest his feet on the dashboard while they bashed minnows like Fiji and New South Wales.

In simple terms, anyone could’ve lead these sides, and that’s why the jobs are chalk and cheese compared to the NRL- especially a rotting hotbed like Souths.

It’s no wonder fans aren’t totally convinced.

While Meninga’s repute alone shadows most, he’s always delegated tactically to a brains trust lead by former Knights and Eels coach Michael Hagan.

It’s for this reason many are concerned about his ability to squeeze the best out of their failing squad, with many experts claiming Mal is so out of touch tactically, he thinks X’s and O’s refer to former partners and their debts.

That’s why it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Of course, the 63 year old boasts experience coaching a side like Souths, once mentoring a similar team of genuine mortals at Canberra.

However, his record of 71 wins and 58 losses will not be enough to jolt Rabbits fans out of the foetal position.

Furthermore, NRL coaching has evolved considerably since his last tenure.

It’s now more parenting rather than whistles and witches hats, with the nuts and bolts replaced by the wants and needs of today’s generation, like feelings and veganism.

Furthermore, even his most recent dalliance with club football was ill-fated.

Hired by the Gold Coast as Head of Performance and Culture in 2018, he departed on a sour note when the club hired Des Hasler on the sly- so even the Titans didn’t rate his opinion.

It left Meninga as confused as the job specs of his LinkedIn thought-leader job title, with many certain this would be his last appearance in clubland forever.

But now he could be returning to Souths under a blanket of red flags- including his own.

Don’t worry about his decades away from the role, Big Mal also juggles more portfolios than ScoMo – Kangaroos coach, Fox commentary and his own business, all while living in Canberra – which is why the NRL is already rumoured to block the move.

And if the Rabbits want a romantic figurehead, why not throw the kitchen sink at Sam Burgess?

– Dane Eldridge is a warped cynic yearning for the glory days of rugby league, a time when the sponges were magic and the Mondays were mad. He’s never strapped on a boot in his life, and as such, should be taken with a grain of salt.

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