Red flags for Meninga around interim Souths job

Mal Meninga has admitted he sees red flags around the South Sydney coaching job, concerned about the way the Jason Demetriou situation has been handled.

With pressure growing on Demetriou, Meninga has made no secret of the fact he is interested in the Rabbitohs role on an interim basis, if it becomes available.

The Kangaroos coach will head to Vanuatu on a family holiday this week, and has indicated he will weigh up his options while overseas.

He and the Rabbitohs have denied there has been any official approach, however it is apparent the Canberra legend has been sounded out by a third party.

But in the hours before South Sydney's gutsy 34-22 loss to Cronulla on Saturday night, Meninga was beginning to raise concerns.

He questioned a perceived lack of support for Demetriou and clarity around his future, after the coach's 27-second press conference on Friday.

South Sydney NRL coach Jason Demetriou storms out less than 30 seconds into his press conference.

"That's a red flag for me as well, if no one's willing to step up and talk on behalf of the club and (say) exactly what's happening, particularly with Jason," Meninga said on Fox League.

"That to me is a sign that you maybe shouldn't get involved with the club."

Meninga also admitted concerns about his name being leaked as a potential option, and said he had sympathy for the Rabbitohs mentor.

"I haven't been approached and all of a sudden my name is associated with the story," he said.

"That sends some poor signals from somewhere. Is it the board or whatever?"

Meninga said if he did take over from Demetriou as interim boss, he would be headed to Souths with an eye on winning a premiership.

But he is adamant any change would not come at the expense of his Kangaroos job, and that he would not take on the Souths role if the ARL Commission did not allow him to do both.

Selwyn Cobbo and Mal Meninga.
Meninga congratulates Selwyn Cobbo after a 2023 Test win over Samoa.

"It hasn't got to that (discussion), but if it comes to that Kangaroos duties are first and foremost in my mind," Meninga said.

"I want to go to a third World Cup ... so if it's going to impinge on me coaching the Australian side, it's a big fat no from me."

Meninga suggested the option was weighing heavily on his mind.

"You've got to do it for the right reasons. You don't do it for the money in it, prestige or as an ego-driven thing," he said.

"It's more, 'Can I do it, and do I want to do it? And can I do the best I possibly can?'. If I'm going to do the job, I want them to win a premiership."

Meninga's comments came as Benji Marshall revealed on Saturday he had reached out to Demetriou to offer support.

The Tigers coach played under then-assistant Demetriou at St George Illawarra, Brisbane and South Sydney.

"I reached out to him, sent him a message to make sure he was OK, but he'll be OK," Marshall said.

"He's a very smart guy, when it comes to coaching."

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