Mal's a winner with kids
SINCE taking up the job of coaching the Maroons, Mal Meninga has had to endure the pain of losing only a few times.
Fresh from Wednesday night's State of Origin disappointment in Sydney, big Mal had some timely words of encouragement for students of Redbank Plains State High's specialist Indigenous program.
“Sometimes the thing about losing is that you learn things from it,” he said.
“The thing you have to be most proud of is that you tried your best.”
Mal joined his old Queensland and Canberra Raiders team mate Steve Walters at the school yesterday to reward the hard work of about 20 students who took part in the Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education (ARTIE) program.
The program encourages students of various grades to achieve a list of effort and attendance goals set out at the beginning of the year.
The kids enjoyed a big feed of pizza – delivered by the Origin greats of course – with Mal and Steve before being given tickets to the series decider at Lang Park.
Mal said the idea of the ARTIE program was not to achieve amazing results but to encourage each student to reach their full potential.
“It's about kids coming to school and doing the best they possibly can – it doesn't matter what level you reach,” he said.
“Steve has been the architect of this group, I just helped him out in the initial stages. Steve is very emotionally attached to all this and he loves what he is doing. He has got a lot of students achieving what they set out to achieve and today is all about rewarding that.”
Year eight student and keen rugby league player, Daniel West-Pes, said having Mal and Steve visit was the biggest thrill.
“The best part of the program was meeting them and having a yarn about footy and how they are going,” Daniel said.