The NRL’s new hard-line stance on off-field issues has the backing of the game’s elite players, according to Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga.
Andrew Fifita and Semi Radradra were ruled ineligible by the NRL for selection on Australia’s Four Nations tour due to their off-field issues.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg said it was an indication of what players had to lose if they did not uphold the values and behaviour expected of them.
It is a sentiment that those who were selected in the 24-man Australian squad agree with, as does Meninga himself.
“I support it,” Meninga said.
“I believe in all honesty the Kangaroos jersey should be held in high esteem and all the players should be great role models on and off the field.
“I spoke with the players about it in Newcastle (in the lead-up to the mid-season Test, Meninga’s first in charge of the Kangaroos) and they are of the same view.”
Former NRL bad boys Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson are part of Meninga’s squad for the Four Nations in Britain.
Meninga said the pair were an example to troubled players of what can happen if you do turn your lives around away from football.
“There are some players there in the squad with some great stories because they have turned things around,” Meninga said.
The Australians play New Zealand in a one-off Test in Perth on October 15.
Meninga said he would pick his best side for that match at nib Stadium.
“It is a Test match, we will pick our strongest 17,” he said.
Australia open their Four Nations campaign against Scotland Hull on October 28.