On This Day: Mal Meninga plays final game for Saints – 1985

Each day whilst we are all in Lockdown we will recall a famous Saints moment from the current day thanks to Saints Heritage Society.

­11 MAY 1985

Premiership final: St. Helens 36-18 Hull KR at Elland Road, Leeds.

A magnificent victory, choc full of open football, with Saints’ loose forward and Captain Harry Pinner untouchable in what was his 300th game for the club.

The only downside: Big Mal Meninga [#971] played his last game, but what a finale for the Big Man, with two outstanding interception tries.

Clearly, Meninga`s presence transformed the Saints into a trophy-winning outfit for the first time since the late 1970s. Although the club were unable to match this success in the 1985/86 campaign, leading to the exit of Coach Billy Benyon. Mal never managed a second spell at Knowsley Road, for a variety of reasons, not least a succession of injuries, that also punctuated his career for Canberra Raiders and Australia. Yet he remains a legendary figure in international Rugby League, forever remembered for his awesome power, pace and handling ability. He could kick goals too – I remember that superb effort from the touchline at Thrum Hall in 1985, not that he attempted many goal-kicks for the Saints, mind you!

Indeed, the Wizard of Aus is always assured of a fantastic reception every time he returns to the Saints.

In total Meninga made 31 appearances for Saints scoring an impressive 28 tries and also kicking 8 goals.

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