Meninga's photo evidence against Bennett

Australia coach Mal Meninga has hit back at England coach Wayne Bennett's claims that the Kangaroos use unfair tactics to slow down the ruck.

Reports emerged on Thursday morning that Bennett had called for a crackdown on Australia's tactics, with the master coach claiming that the Kangaroos deliberately slow the ruck by calling on a third defender whose job is to lay on top of teammates who had already completed the tackle. 

Bennett even went to the extreme measure of supplying media with 26 examples of Australia's controversial strategy, as well as raising the issue with referees boss Tony Archer. 

And now Meninga has responded, coming to the defence of his players with a dossier of photographic evidence. 

During Thursday's press conference, Meninga halted proceedings and brought out a number of photographs of England using the exact same tactic during their World Cup matches. 

One photo, taken from England's training session, showed three members of the English squad practising the same tactic Bennett took issue with. 


It was a response taken straight from Bennett's playbook, with Meninga laughing the whole thing off as a bit of banter. 

"I can show you many examples of them doing the same thing… I might show you some pictures," Meninga said as he pulled out a number of photographs showing the English with three in a tackle.

"It happens every week in the NRL. It's just a bit of mind games. They are practising three in the tackle at their training. That's the game of rugby league. 

"It's part of the banter of such a big game. Both teams want to play well and we both want quick play-the-balls. 

"We're here to play footy. We've got no issue with the refereeing. I think they've controlled the ruck pretty well. 

"If you win the ruck then you're a pretty big chance of being successful." 

Meninga's relaxed attitude is in stark contrast to the serious nature of Bennett, but as different as the two are, they both want the same thing – success.

According to Meninga, the want to win is why their pre-match antics should not be taken too seriously, with both coaches attempting to take the pressure off their players in the lead-up to the biggest international match of the year. 

"It's all fun. It's all good. We don't want to make it about Wayne and I. Banter is good and if Wayne feels he needs to add to it I am happy to return serve," he said. 

"It's part of the theatre of big games. They want to win, we want to win, and all this adds to the drama of a Rugby League World Cup final." 

The Kangaroos are chasing their first World Cup win on home soil in 40 years, while England are playing in their first decider since 1995.