A Queensland sculptor who created the magnificent Arthur Beetson statue will now turn his talent to immortalising Queensland State of Origin coach Mal Meninga, Sports Minister Steve Dickson announced today.
Mr Dickson said Coomera-based sculptor Liam Hardy would create the statue honouring the Maroons mentor, and would also donate a large portion of his commission to a charity nominated by Mr Meninga.
“Mal’s legendary achievements mean the time is right for him to be honoured alongside fellow legends Wally Lewis, Darren Lockyer and Arthur Beetson at Suncorp Stadium, the spiritual home of Rugby League in Queensland,” Mr Dickson said.
“Mr Hardy’s work in producing the Arthur Beetson statue at the Stadium - captured as we all remembered him, as one of the most destructive ball-running forwards the game has ever seen - is testament to his ability as a sculptor to do justice to his subject.
“I’m sure he will do likewise with a fearsome Mal terrorising the New South Wales defence as he did in 32 Origin games for Queensland.
“It’s also appropriate that Mal’s statue will stand next to Arthur’s as they were undoubtedly two of the best and most influential Queensland indigenous players to grace Rugby League fields both at home and abroad.”
Mr Dickson said the State Government was contributing $10,000 towards the statue and AEG Ogden and Nine Entertainment Company would split the remaining costs.
“The statue will stand as a permanent reminder of Queensland’s dominance over New South Wales and the achievements of Mal’s champion Queensland Origin teams,” he said.
“It is hard to imagine we will ever see the likes of such a squad again, let alone eight straight Origin series wins. And the good thing is the story isn’t finished yet.”
The statue, rendered in bronze and expected to weigh around 200 kilograms, will take about six months to complete.