Meninga tells Kan­ga­roos to con­cen­trate on the fu­ture

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

MAL Meninga may be lead­ing a re­vamped Aus­tralian side for the first time but he is adamant his team need to look for­ward and not back.

The Aus­tralian side will run out on to Mt Smart Sta­dium for the first time in 12 years without ei­ther Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk or Billy Slater in their line- up.

In­stead it will be first gamers James Tedesco, La­trell Mitchell, Luke Keary and Damien Cook lin­ing up for a vastly dif­fer­ent Aus­tralian side.

“We don’t talk about the dawn of an new era, lost play­ers that might’ve been in this footy team,” Meninga said. “It’s about be­ing Kan­ga­roos.

“The ex­pec­ta­tions are the same. It’s not ( dif­fer­ent) be­cause we’ve lost play­ers. New play­ers are step­ping up with the same ex­pec­ta­tions on putting the green and gold jersey on that has been for the last 110 years of our his­tory.

“We want to play re­ally well. ( The rook­ies) are all great and qual­ity in­di­vid­u­als. They un­der­stand the im­por­tance of putting on the jersey and want to do it proud.

“We have a set of val­ues we be­lieve are re­ally im­por­tant to us as Kan­ga­roos.”

Meninga, who is look­ing to ex­tend his un­beaten streak as coach to 14, will coach his first game on New Zealand soil.

Mal Meninga.

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