Australia coach Mal Meninga has put his hands up and apologised for an “honest oversight” after he failed to inform Kangaroos veteran Sam Thaiday of his axing from his Rugby League World Cup squad.
Thaiday, who has made 34 appearances for Australia, was a key player in many State of Origin wins during Meninga’s tenure in charge of Queensland from 2006 to 2015.
The 32-year-old’s 2017 has not gone to plan, though, dropped from Queensland’s team after an Origin I defeat, while his Brisbane Broncos future is up in the air.
And Thaiday will play no part at the World Cup, either, venting his fury at a lack of respect shown to him in an Instagram post on Monday.
“It was a complete and honest oversight,” Meninga told Fairfax Media about failing to communicate with Thaiday.
“I didn’t handle it the best way, as he mentioned in his social media [outburst], and I agree … I called him and apologised.
“He was doing a bit of venting. He’s had a bugger of a year … his club [Brisbane Broncos] say they don’t want him next year as well, so he feels unwanted.
“He’s given a lot to our game. He’s been a great warrior and servant for our game.
“Given my association with him over the last decade or more, he deserves more respect from me and the game.
“I can’t be more apologetic.”
Aussie Aussie Aussie… No, No, No. So it's official – the end of my 2017 Rugby League year. Who would've thought this year would be the last time I played for both QLD and Australia. A bit of respect would've been nice… to at least receive a phone call and learn about selection that way instead of through a leaked report from the media on last night's news. After dedicating more than 10 years wearing the Maroon and Green and Gold jersey, you'd expect to be treated with a bit more decency and respect. I guess not. Lucky I have one more year left at the @brisbanebroncos unless someone wants to shatter that dream too. What a rollercoaster of a year – Peace out 2017 👊🏾
A post shared by Sam Thaiday (@samthaiday) on
Thaiday, who was a member of Australia’s World Cup winning team in 2013, said he wanted to be treated with more decency.
“A bit of respect would’ve been nice … to at least receive a phone call and learn about selection that way instead of through a leaked report from the media on last night’s news,” he wrote on Instagram.
“After dedicating more than 10 years wearing the maroon [Queensland] and green and gold jersey [Australia], you’d expect to be treated with a bit more decency and respect. I guess not.”
Australia – minus Thaiday – will open the 2017 Rugby League World Cup with a clash against England at AAMI Park on October 27.