On This Day in 1984 Mal Meninga scored two tries on his Saints debut in a 30-16 win over Castleford Tigers.
St.Helens 30 Castleford 16
Slalom Lager Championship
7th October 1984
Saints Team: Veivers; Ledger, Allen, Meninga (2T2G), Day (1T1G); Arkwright (1T), Peters (1T); Burke, Liptrot, Gorley, Platt, Round, Pinner (Capt). Subs: Smith, Haggerty.
The Saints had been re-building after the great side of the 1970s had broken up and was almost ready to hit the big time once again, bolstered by some of the finest local talent ever assembled at Knowsley Road.
The signing of Australian international centre Mal Meninga, coupled with his lesser-known Brisbane Souths team-mate Phil Veivers was big news in the Glass Town. Over 7,000 witnessed their debut – double the average crowd of the time – as momentum and interest began to increase amongst supporters.
Big Mal in particular didn’t disappoint, with two stunning tries in each half and the Saints were up and running. They now had that something ‘extra’ to compete for major honours and beat Wigan on their own turf to win the Lancashire Cup for the first time since the late 1960s.
Although Hull KR won the league and knocked Saints out of the Challenge Cup – by targeting Meninga – the team finished in style by beating the same opponents in a classic Premiership Final at Elland Road.
Unfortunately, Big Mal was never able to repeat his Knowsley Road sojourn and the momentum of the 1984-85 campaign was lost somewhat, although Phil Veivers went on to become a Saints’ legend at full-back, making almost 400 appearances and scoring 98 tries.
Meninga made a total of 31 appearances and scored 28 tries in the RedV!