Tensions between #Mal Meninga and Wayne Bennett are at an all-time high after the Australia coach was left infuriated by comments made about his team’s defensive tactics.

Bennett, who is notoriously known for mind games, told Brisbane’s Courier-Mail that he had shown World Cup Head of Referees Tony Archer 26 examples of the Kangaroos using a third defender to slow down the ruck.

Clearly angered by these comments, Meninga produced seven images of #England doing the same thing to TV cameras earlier today in a bid to return serve to his Queensland counterpart.

Six of the enlarged pictures shown were from England's semi-final win against Tonga last Saturday, with the final one from a training session this week.

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"Here are some pictures of England putting a third man in last weekend," said Meninga. “As you can see they are doing exactly the same thing."

"It happens every week, that's Rugby League. One of the main things you have to do in a game is win the ruck, if you do that then you give yourself the best chance of winning."

"It is all part of the theatre of big games. Both teams are eager to win but we’re not focusing on that. We’re focusing on playing footy and not the referee.”

The spat is the latest in a series of clashes between the pair after reportedly falling out when Bennett missed out on the Australian coaching job to Meninga in 2015.

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Despite this, the Kangaroos coach has maintained that the war of words is not personal and that he expects no contact with the referees prior to the final.

"This is not about me and Wayne, it's all mind games," Meninga explained. "Clearly Wayne feels that he needs to try get into our heads but that won't happen, we've got all the answers."

"I don't think there are any issues around the refereeing ahead of this game, if there were then I'm pretty sure Tony (Archer) would have called me."

“Like I say, we are focused on the game. Mind games have existed for years so it’s nothing new. We’re coming up against a very good, committed England side so we’re focused on that.”

Also asked about the comments made by Bennett, Australia skipper Cameron Smith said he was not surprised to hear the England coach pipe up before another big game.

“I’m not shocked at all,” said Smith. “It was to be expected really, before every big game I have played in involving Wayne he always slips something controversial into the media."

"We're not taking any notice of that though, we're fully focused on the game." #Wayne Bennett