Rugby League: Broncos talk to Meninga

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(First Edition)

LONDON BRONCOS are 'quietly confident' of signing Mal Meninga, the Australian captain. Meninga has been in extended negotiations with Gary Grienke, his former Brisbane Souths team-mate and London's new coach, writes Dave Hadfield.

'We have been in constant contact and I'm confident that he will be here,' Grienke said. It is now up to John Ribot, chief executive of London's parent club, the Brisbane Broncos, to complete the deal.

'Mal and I have known each other since we were 15, which has helped,' Grienke said. 'He would have a dramatic effect on our prospects.'

The annual round of 'Meninga for St Helens' stories induces a measure of scepticism that will only be dispersed when he runs out at the Copthall Stadium, where the Broncos are now resigned to starting their season.

But if Meninga joins London, it will be their biggest publicity coup since they entered the Rugby League 14 years ago.

It could also be one of a decreasing number of overseas signings. British clubs - apart from London - will be asked at a special meeting on 30 August to accept a limit of two overseas players when current contracts expire. Australia's agreement at last week's international board meeting to protect Britain by imposing a two-per-club import quota is dependent upon British clubs doing the same.