England rather than Australia have opted for Wayne Bennett as coach.
But Mal Meninga reckons Bennett is helping the new Kangaroos coach do his job for him.
Meninga said a major goal since beating Bennett to the Kangaroos reins was to help raise international rugby league’s profile.
And Meninga said that wouldn’t be difficult with tongues already wagging eight months ahead of their much anticipated Four Nations showdown.
“Part of my job is to help the game grow and return Test football to the pinnacle of the game,” he told the Former Origin Greats website.
“Without a game being played, I think we have taken some small steps in that direction already.”
Meninga’s first official gig as Kangaroos coach will be against world No.1 New Zealand in Newcastle in May.
But Meninga already had his eye on the Four Nations starting in the UK in October – and reckoned he was not alone since Bennett’s England appointment.
“When he comes up against Australia for the first time as England coach, which will be in the Four Nations game played in London, of course the interest level will go up a few notches,” he said.
“So already, interest in the international game has a platform to build and grow.
“That is what it is all about not only having these events but having people involved that give it that profile.”
Bennett was critical of the ARL Commission appointing a full-time Kangaroos position.
He will juggle the England job at the 2016 Four Nations and 2017 World Cup with his NRL club Brisbane duties.
Meninga was hand-picked for the national job after leading Queensland to nine State of Origin series wins in 10 years.
Meninga did not take Bennett’s criticism personally as he prepared to relocate to Sydney for the Kangaroos job.
“I personally think it is terrific that Wayne has decided to coach England,” he said.
“Whatever his motivations may be, he has already guaranteed people here will be playing closer attention to what the English team does, and how they perform.”