Meninga says sorry to Sam after World Cup snub
AN "embarrassed" Mal Meninga has contacted Sam Thaiday and apologised unreservedly for not giving the veteran forward the courtesy of a phone call before Thaiday found out he had been dumped from the Kangaroos World Cup squad.
Thaiday took to social media on Tuesday night to express his hurt and anger at the snubbing, slamming Meninga and the Test selectors, declaring "you'd expect to be treated with a bit more decency and respect".
Meninga said he contacted Thaiday on Tuesday night as soon as he was made aware of the comments.
"I talked to him last night and deeply apologised," he said.
"It was an oversight.
"I agree with him.
"It wasn't a respectful thing to do.
"I put my hand up and apologised.
"I'm not on social media but the word got to me so I called and I couldn't be more apologetic.
"I agreed with his sentiments.
"He has been a great warrior for the game, he deserved more respect that what I gave him."
Meninga admitted Thaiday was still hurt when they spoke.
"He vented a bit because it has been a tough year for him," Meninga continued.
"I said I understand all that.
"I am embarrassed by it because that is not me, it was just a complete oversight.
"He has been a huge part of our resurrection around the Kangaroos, around the RISE.
"Part of our RISE is respect.
"I didn't uphold that with him so I am very remorseful.
"I wish I would have called him."
Thaiday, a member of this year's Anzac Test side and the player behind the Kangaroos' new 'Rise' catchcry, says he wasn't told of being dumped from the green and gold, and only found out he was overlooked when the 24-man squad was leaked the night before Tuesday's official announcement.
"Aussie Aussie Aussie ... No, No, No. So it's official - the end of my 2017 Rugby League year. Who would've thought this year would be the last time I played for both QLD and Australia," Thaiday wrote on Instagram with a photo of him in Kangaroos colours.
"A bit of respect would've been nice ... to at least receive a phone call and learn about selection that way instead of through a leaked report from the media on last night's news."
Meninga said he also spoke to Thaiday about his future representative hopes, and told him not to give up hope of playing rep footy again next year.
"He is still playing well and it doesn't mean to say he won't get back in the rep scene next year," Meninga said.
"We had that conversation as well."