Kangaroos head coach Mal Maninga has claimed he has welcomed the selection shake-up that has seen ARLC chairman Peter V'Landys and both Origin coaches, Billy Slater and Brad Fittler, join the World Cup selection panel.
Following the announcement that V'Landys and both incumbent representative bosses would be tasked with sculpting the Roos squad, former panellists Laurie Daley and Queensland icon Darren Lockyer were culled ahead of the tournament's commencement in mid-October.
Speaking in the wake of the unprecedented shift toward including a chief administrator in collating the representative side, Meninga stated that he was "happy" with the alterations given he would be able to field thoughts from both Slater and Fittler.
“Those two will give us some great insight into the players because they will be working with them on the Origin level, and I’m sure there will be some robust conversations around how we select our footy side,” Meninga said, via The Sydney Morning Herald.
However, the Immortal was at pains to stress that the buck still stopped with him.
“I’m happy with it. I’m more than fine with it, just as long as my input remains relevant," Meninga continued.
“I’ll still have a lot of input. Everyone knows that. The fact Peter has a casting vote is nothing new. It’s been like that with the constitution for a number of years.
“Common sense will prevail. I’m the head coach, I welcome the fantastic input from Billy and Freddy, but at the end of the day, I’m the coach, and I’ll have a large influence on the make-up of the final team.”
The Raiders legend suggested that a squad of 50 names would be put together and made public within the space of the next two weeks.
Still, the 61-year-old also doubled down on the fact that he would not be coaxing players to represent their country.
“It’s not my role to coerce anybody into playing for Australia. I’ll only pick players who want to wear the green and gold jersey," Meninga said in finality.
Australia's World Cup defence is set to commence on Saturday, October 15 when they face the Fijians at Headingley.