Meninga warns Maroons on attitude - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Meninga warns Maroons on attitude

By Laine Clark 11/04/2009 04:15:28 PM Comments (0)

Sick of rugby league's off-field controversies, Queensland coach Mal Meninga has warned Maroons hopefuls they won't be picked if their "attitude" isn't right - no matter who they are.

Despite gunning for an unprecedented fourth straight Origin series wins, Meninga said he would have no hesitation in putting a line through a player's name if he "buggers up" off field - even if it was key player Cameron Smith.

While not singling out the Melbourne hooker, Meninga used Smith's name as an example of the calibre of player he was willing to ignore to ram home his point.

"Everyone is in the spotlight. If Cameron Smith buggers up off the footy field then others like (Cowboys rake) Aaron Payne come into play," he told AAP.

"And (Gold Coast No.9) Nathan Friend is certainly in the mix.

"He's had a great start to the season, earned a contract extension - he is doing everything right at the moment."

Meninga said he was so happy with the Maroons depth that he was willing to overlook their superstars if their off-field behaviour was not up to scratch.

"The things that I am looking at is how well they compete and whether they have good attitudes," he said.

"That's probably more important than team performance or individual performance when it comes to selection - their mental application to the game is what counts."

Meninga's message would be a wake-up call for incumbent Maroons forward Nate Myles who was recently dumped to NSW Cup for breaching his club Sydney Roosters' drinking policy.

It's not Myles' first alcohol related indiscretion at the club.

Meninga ordered a private meeting with Myles after he turned up to a club training session intoxicated in 2007.

Asked if Myles' latest misdemeanour would work against his Origin selection, Meninga said: "It hasn't helped him."

But Meninga said he had not organised another private meeting with Myles - yet.

"I have no need to at the moment. It's still early," he said.

"We are still weeks away before we start considering players - a lot can happen."

While Queensland will be without the likes of Mick Crocker this year, Meninga could not hide his excitement over their forwards depth.

Canberra duo Scott Logan and David Shillington have clearly impressed while the likes of Broncos big boys Nick Kenny, Sam Thaiday and David Taylor have put up their hands.

But it seems the Cowboys trio of Carl Webb, Matt Scott and Antonio Kaufusi have some work to do after Meninga described the North Queensland pack as "lacklustre".

"The game of rugby league is about forwards, how dominant they are," Meninga said.

"And there's plenty of depth in our forwards, I am more than happy with the depth.

"They've just got to maintain their attitude.

"Mental desire will play a very important role in the selection of the Queensland side this year.

"Behaviour off the field is probably more paramount to selection than the performance on it.

"If you show the right attitude it means that you want to be there."

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