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Big Mal's big no comment

Wayne Heming 13/07/2011 02:07:17 PM Comments (0)

Queensland State of Origin coach Mal Meninga has declined to comment on reports the NRL match review committee has given him 48 hours to apologise for accusing them of being part of a conspiracy to stop his champion Maroons winning a record sixth consecutive series.

It's understood the three panel members - Greg McCallum, Peter Louis and Bradley Clyde - want an apology and retraction in the same Sunday newspaper in which he launched his scathing attack last weekend on those involved with the NSW Origin campaign as "rats and filth".

Fairfax and News Ltd reported on Wednesday letters had been sent to both Meninga and News Ltd demanding a full apology and retraction - warning legal action would follow if the requests were not met.

Meninga has not commented publicly since the firestorm erupted over his explosive column.

He and Brisbane captain Darren Lockyer, who bowed out a winner when Queensland won the series decider against NSW a week ago, were special guests at a charity lunch on Wednesday to raise money to help fight Autism in young children.

However, a smiling Meninga offered no comment to journalists as he entered the $120 a head lunch at the Pineapple Hotel.

Staff were also advised Meninga did not want to speak to media and TV crews were not allowed inside the establishment.

Lockyer, however, spoke briefly saying the furore over Meninga's stinging attack - sparked by a media campaign to discredit him as a coach - only highlights the passion that Origin stirs.

"It's Origin, it's built on passion," said Lockyer.

It's believed Meninga has fallen out with NSW Origin coach Ricky Stuart, a former Canberra and Kangaroos team-mate, over media attempts to discredit his coaching credentials.

The Queensland Rugby league (QRL) has backed Meninga, who has re-signed for a further four years, while a number of former Queensland Origin players, headed by Arthur Beetson and Greg Dowling, have spoken out in his defence.

Beetson has been the loudest supporter, claiming the NRL has no accountability and "runs the show".

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