Record-breaking Queensland coach Meninga gets national job

SYDNEY (AP) Former Kangaroos captain and record-breaking Queensland coach Mal Mengina has been appointed head coach of Australia's national rugby league team.

Meninga, who guided Queensland to nine State of Origin titles over New South Wales in 10 years, signed a four-year contract, the National Rugby League said Thursday.

The 55-year-old Meninga replaces Tim Sheens, who quit in October to take over as fulltime director of rugby with English Super League side Salford.

Australia has lost three consecutive test matches to New Zealand and with it the No. 1 ranking.

Australia captain Cameron Smith says ''I couldn't think of a coach more suited to this role, given Mal's … understanding of what representing Australia means.''