Meninga happy with Sunday Origin

Queensland coach Mal Meninga believes Sunday night State of Origin will be fairer on clubs and a smart change for the game.

The NRL has announced as part of a new free-to-air television deal from 2018 that the second match of the three-game interstate series will be held as a stand-alone fixture on a Sunday night.

Meninga says the decision will force changes in how the Maroons prepare for the match but it’s a change he’s backing to succeed.

“From an Origin point of view, I’m happy with the scheduling,” Meninga said.

“Sunday night, stand alone representative weekend, I think that’s smart. We’ll adapt accordingly.

“We don’t know the intricacies of it all but I’m assuming that all the players will be playing for their teams the weekend before the stand-alone weekend.

“That’s a couple of days less preparation, so they’ve just got to be managed a bit smarter, as they do week-to-week.

“We’ll probably have a bigger squad leading into game one, just to cater for game two.”

The new free-to-air television deal, worth up to $925 million, will provide a big boost of funds to rugby league’s coffers.

Meninga says he’d like to see that money invested in the game’s grassroots, believing that area needs to be developed before the NRL can realistically contemplate expanding its own competition by adding clubs.

“We need to have a look at our core people, which are the ones who play the game at the grassroots and get those coming through,” he said.

“Offering opportunities to those so we can get more people playing the game. Then you can start supplying an extra (NRL) team or two.

“I don’t think you’ve got enough (player) numbers yet. Sixteen is adequate. Add another team and you start to stretch your numbers, your quality of numbers.”

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