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Mal Meninga honoured as one of Queensland's Greats

Rugby league legend Mal Meninga AM has been honoured as one of Queensland’s Greats in recognition of his contributions to rugby league and numerous sporting, community and charitable organisations.

‘Big Mal’ was nominated for the award by both Queensland Rugby League and Bond University, and his achievement will be acknowledged at the Queensland Greats Awards ceremony on Sunday, June 12 and with a commemorative plaque in Brisbane’s Roma Street Parklands.

“I feel very privileged to be even considered for this prestigious award,” said Mr Meninga.

“I’m very grateful and surprised to be nominated and thank those who believed in me and thought I was worthy of such an honour.

“My sporting career has allowed me to live a good life and given me the confidence and integrity to be involved in many things – from rugby league and business through to community and family.

“Above all, I owe a lot to the nurturing nature of my parents and family for the person I am today. They showed me that, regardless of your colour, background and prejudices, one can make a difference and be respected.

“As a very proud Australian South Sea Islander, I hope I have fulfilled their expectations.”

While Mal Meninga’s outstanding achievements as a rugby league player and coach in the state, national and international arena are part of Australia’s sporting history, Bond University’s nomination highlighted his less well-known contributions to leadership, training and education, particularly for young Indigenous and Australian South Sea Islanders.

“Throughout his sporting career, Mr Meninga has inspired legions of young fans at numerous clinics and school visits; and he serves as a Board member of the Former Origin Greats (FOGs), a non-profit organization which has partnered with Bond University’s Indigenous education programs for several years,” said Bond University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Pathways and Partnerships, Catherine O’Sullivan.

During his time with the Canberra Raiders, Mr Meninga founded and chaired PASS (Primary and After School Sports) – a school-based traineeship, mentoring and leadership program that was credited with reducing crime by 50% among young people in the juvenile aid system in southern NSW and was eventually expanded to other states.

He has also served as Patron of the Australian South Sea Islander Community Foundation since its establishment in 2001 as a charitable foundation providing university scholarships for Australian South Sea Islander students.

And in more recent years, he has championed Bond University’s Indigenous Scholarship Program on a personal basis through prize donation and support of the University’s Annual Indigenous Gala.

“Mr Meninga serves as an inspiration to all our students, and particularly to our Australian South Sea Islander and Indigenous students, by exemplifying how the best values of sport can translate to success in education, business and community leadership,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

“This philosophy is very much in line with the University’s long-term strategy to integrate sport into each of Bond’s core functions of learning, teaching, research and engagement.

“As such, we were extremely proud to nominate Mr Meninga for the Queensland Greats Award and offer our heartfelt congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.”

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