Big Mal immortalised in Canberra - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Big Mal immortalised in Canberra

By Bonny Symons-Brown 28/06/2009 04:18:21 PM Comments (0)

Rugby league great and Canberra legend Mal Meninga has been immortalised in bronze at Canberra Stadium.

Meninga, who helped the Raiders to five grand finals including three wins as captain, was honoured with a bronze statue outside his old home ground on Sunday.

The sculpture commemorates his last game before retiring, when in 1994 he famously pumped his fist after scoring the final try of the game to secure the Raiders a premiership against the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Former teammate Gary Belcher said there was no underestimating the impact Meninga had on Canberra football.

"This club went from average to excellent, from sometimes easy beats to the benchmark in Australian and world rugby league," he said at the statue's unveiling.

"Through that entire period Mal was a central figure to the Canberra Raiders success."

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope also paid tribute to Meninga, recalling his seemingly endless list of sporting achievements including 45 Australian Test appearances and 32 for Queensland's State of Origin side.

"(It's) a contribution, a sheer physical presence, worth immortalising," Mr Stanhope said.

Flanked by his family, Meninga said he was overwhelmed both physically and emotionally by the gesture.

"My first reaction - Geez he's big," he joked.

"I'm truly touched, really honoured ... I thought I might cry this afternoon."

"I've got a lime green heart, I must confess."

After coaching the Maroons to a record fourth consecutive Origin series win on Wednesday, Meninga said it had been a celebratory week.

"I just hope the Raiders come out and put the icing on the cake and have a win today against the (Melbourne) Storm," he told AAP.

Following the sidelining of Queensland prop Ben Hannant with a knee injury, Meninga said he would be watching Canberra's David Shillington for a possible inclusion in his third Origin team.

"He'll come into calculations for sure, him and Matty Scott from up North Queensland way," he said.

"I'll have a keen eye on young David today and hopefully he plays well."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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