STRONG MAN: Falcons winger Joe Meninga pushes his way though against the PNG Hunters.
STRONG MAN: Falcons winger Joe Meninga pushes his way though against the PNG Hunters. Warren Lynam

Falcons’ Meninga did well to heed big Mal

SUNSHINE Coast pivot Kyle Van Klaveren has lauded the performances of Joe Meninga, the nephew of Australian and Queensland legend Mal.

After making his state league debut for the Falcons against Burleigh in May, the 21-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season despite the side's last place on the Intrust Super Cup ladder.

"He's fantastic," Van Klaveren said. "The aggression and passion he shows at that age is great."

A big, powerful three-quarter in the same mould as his uncle, Joe came through the ranks of the Sunshine Coast juniors.

At one stage he considered quitting the sport after missing out on representative selection in under-18 sides, but Mal convinced him to play on.

After a stint with the Sunshine Coast FOGS Colts side, Joe played with Bribie Island in the local A-grade decider last year.

He then did a pre-season with Tweed Heads and was at Nambour for the start of this season. He has since found form at the Falcons, however, playing 14 games this campaign.

Joe is the son of Geoff Meninga - a backrower with Souths Magpies in the early 1980s.

Van Klaveren said of his teammate: "Whenever he gets the ball he's aggressive and he does what he needs to do every game.

"He's going really well."

Van Klaveren will be looking to spin the ball wide to Meninga in this afternoon's round-24 clash with 10th-placed Norths at Bokarina.

Predicted rain may make that difficult but regardless of the weather, Van Klaveren is excited about playing in the six jersey, after making his first appearance in it last week.

"I really enjoy five-eighth. You get into the game a lot quicker and you get your hands on the ball a lot more," he said.

"But I also enjoy fullback, running the ball back and backing up players and being everywhere."

SUNSHINE COAST: C Klein, J Meninga, R Klein, R Baillie, P McKewin, K Van Klaveren, B Doherty, MAdams, J Lobwein, R Hansen (c), J Nahu-Main, J Samoa, T Murphy. Interchange: M Gilliman, J Leavai, L Blumke, M Ebdon

LADDER: Northern Pride 40, Easts 33, Wynnum Manly 32, Tweed Heads 31, Ipswich 30, PNG 29, Mackay 23, Burleigh 23, Souths Logan 22, Norths 20, Redcliffe 19, CQ 13, Sunshine Coast 6.

GAME DAY

SUNSHINE COAST v NORTHS

(Today, Bokarina, 4pm)


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