Are you not entertained?
Mal Meninga may not exactly be carrying a sword and shield like Russell Crowe in Gladiator but it’s the war cry he wants his Kangaroos to adopt as they surge through the Rugby League World Cup.
To that end, he’s revealed meeting with referees boss Tony Archer to urge a more free-flowing game ahead of Friday’s quarter-final against Samoa after being upset with the officiating in last week’s win over Lebanon.
Despite his team conceding just 10 points through three pool games, Meninga voiced his displeasure at referee James Childs’ policing of the ruck against the Cedars.
Childs has been put in charge of the England and Papua New Guinea final.
“I had a bit of a yarn to (Archer). That’s what it was all about, the four best referees to take control of some very crucial games,” Meninga said.
“It’s all knockout now so we want to make sure it’s all well-reffed, fair and the ruck speed is how it should be. That’s all we’re after.”
The Kangaroos boast some of the game’s best showmen in Billy Slater, Michael Morgan and Valentine Holmes, while Samoa also have some class in Joseph Leilua and Tim Lafai.
Meninga pleaded with officials to ensure a more open game.
“That’s all we ask, be allowed to play footy really. That’s what we want to do, we want to entertain. That’s what the World Cup’s all about,” he said.
“It’s a showpiece for our game so I just want an entertaining game.”
Samoa coach Matt Parish also appealed for an open match but was more focused on trying to draw an improved performance from a side that failed to win any of its pool games.
The minnow nation only just qualified after a draw with Scotland last week.
“Everyone brings up wrestling and slowing up the ruck. It’s same with us, if we get quick play-the-balls, we’ll be away too but certainly we don’t want to give them too many,” Parish said.
“We’ve been pretty disappointed with the way we’ve played but we’re still in the contest. We’re still in the tournament and I’m sure there’s plenty of fight left in the boys yet.”
Asked whether it was mission impossible, Parish said: “I wouldn’t say that.
“Obviously we’ve got a huge task ahead of us but if we can play well, we can compete against anyone.”