League News : Mal Meninga coming under scrutiny for poor tactics in Kangaroos’ loss to Tonga

Mal Meninga’s game plan and ability to lift a weary Australian side has come into question as the fallout from the Kangaroos’ shock loss to Tonga continues.

An out-of-sorts and directionless Australia suffered its first loss to a second-tier side, going down 16-12 in a massive upset at Eden Park on Saturday.

The players have copped the brunt of the criticism but now Meninga’s part in the disaster is being closely scrutinised.

Sporting News league expert Peter Peters covered Australia’s surprise loss to France in 1978 and rates the Tonga defeat an even greater embarrassment.   

And he put a lot of the blame squarely on Meninga. 

“I was absolutely disgusted by the performance of Australia,” Zorba told Sky Sports Radio.

“It doesn’t say a lot about Mal Meninga. He doesn’t have a lot to do in a season.

“I don’t know if it’s too easy for Mal these days but that side was not prepared well. That was a poor game.

“I don’t know what his excuses could be but that was a poor game.

“They played like they wanted to get to fulltime so they could go and have a holiday.

“Australia played like strangers. There was no passion for the jersey

“I thought they were poorly prepared.”

Australian greats Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler also questioned the Kangaroos’ commitment and the performance of several superstars.

Peters said: “And They were entitled to make (those comments).  

“Full marks to Tonga – they came ready to play and Australia didn’t.

“We didn’t have any tactics or pattern of play.

“(There were) poor games from (David) Klemmer, (Cameron) Munster, (Daly) Cherry-Evans, Latrell Mitchell – they were awful.

“Cherry-Evans was running wide and turning inside to Tyson Frizell time and time again

“The Tongans lapped it up. They loved it.”