Greetings, Planet Rugby League, from the alien world of Melbourne, where the back page of The Age declares that “Daniher” is “on track for Anzac Day” and asks readers to consider whether “Buddy” is “untradeable”.
Gold Coast will parade Mal Meninga around town to get the most out of an appointment that should spark interest among jaded fans and potential recruits of the NRL club.
The Kangaroos coach was announced on Wednesday as the Titans’ head of performance and culture on a three-year deal touted as one of the most significant in club history.
Meninga will move with his family from Canberra to the Gold Coast and balance the new over-arching role with his duties as national coach and media pundit.
He will be involved in all facets of the business, including recruitment and coaching, where he will act as a mentor to second-year boss Garth Brennan.
Executive chairman Dennis Watt expects support to grow and high-quality players to call with Meninga strolling around the club’s Parkwood headquarters.
“It’s not a bad thing having the Kangaroos coach around the club and I expect he’ll be a magnet for top players, because they know the culture he brings,” he told AAP.
“We haven’t had legends like that around the club.
“He’ll just bring a lot of profile. We’ll parade him … Mal’s a winner and we intend to win.”
The Titans have played in just three finals campaigns during a 12-year existence riddled with controversy and financial instability.
But the NRL’s sale of the club last December was considered a line in the sand moment and they are now targeting a return to the top eight.
Still chasing a marquee centre to complement a quality forward pack, the club now have an ace up their sleeve at the recruitment table in the form of the recently-inducted Immortal.
Meninga laughed at the prospect of Kangaroos hopefuls players chasing him to the Gold Coast but said he wouldn’t turn anyone away if they fit the bill.
“I don’t know the club’s salary cap situation at the moment or where they are at with recruitment, but I’ll be involved in that to some degree,” he said.
“If a quality player is on the radar, is what we need and fits under the cap then of course we pursue him.”
Australia aren’t scheduled to play a Test until the end of the 2019 season, freeing up Meninga despite his assurance to the NRL that the Kangaroos job remains a priority.
He told media on Wednesday that he had no ambition to coach at club level again, but had always wanted to return to club land.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m very nervous and apprehensive about it because I’ve never been in this position before,” he said.
“It’s hard work, which I’m willing to do. It’s part of who I am and I guess I have got that profile and reputation, so why not use it?”