Posted: 29 October, 2016 by AAP

Meninga No Friend Of Supercoach Bennett

Mal Meninga has added further spice to the Kangaroos' Four Nations clash with England by saying he's no friend of rival coach Wayne Bennett, who he believes has spent the past year undermining his authority in the role.

Meninga landed the first blow of the campaign shortly after landing in the UK this week, suggesting that Bennett - who has coached Australia in two previous stints but has taken control of England for the Four Nations - wants the job back.

Bennett went head to head with Meninga, who he coached at club level, for the job when it became available last year - but was overlooked as officials opted for a full-time mentor.

The veteran downplayed suggestions he was chasing Meninga's job following England's comfortable warm-up victory against France last weekend in his first game in charge, but Meninga has since lit the fuse once more.

Writing in a newspaper column for Saturday's Courier-Mail, the Canberra, Queensland and Australia legend insists that for Bennett to once again grab a green-and-gold clipboard he'd have to walk away from his head coaching role at the Brisbane Broncos.

Meninga, who says the pair don't talk, argues Bennett has a "lack of understanding about what the role actually entails" born out of the frustration at being passed over for the job, insisting it extends beyond what happens on the field with the Kangaroos.

"Would I be able to do all of those things and coach an NRL club at the same time?

"No, and nor would Wayne or any other coach in the NRL."

Meninga - who coached Queensland to an unprecedented eight-straight State of Origin series wins - believes Bennett doesn't "rate me as a coach" and is working against him at Australian Rugby League Headquarters, either to chip away at confidence in the current setup or put the Kangaroos of their game.

"Maybe it is just a tactical ploy, hoping if he gets under my skin then I will take my focus off the job at hand. It's not working," Meninga continues.

"When Wayne says he doesn't want my job, or that we are friends who will embrace after a game, it is just not true.

"I'm a man of my own convictions. I'm not looking for approval from Wayne, nor am I trying to impress him.

"I know there is a perception that he and I are friends. We're not enemies, but we're not friends either.

"There's no bad blood -- there's just no blood at all. There is no relationship there. We don't talk."

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