Abbas Miski had never seen snow before touching down in London three months ago ahead of The Broncos’ 2021 Betfred Championship campaign.
Training in sub-zero temperatures days after his arrival from down under therefore came as somewhat of a culture shock to the Broncos’ new winger, who signed on New Year’s Eve from National Rugby League side Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
The 25-year-old sought a new challenge outside of Australia at the conclusion of the 2020 season following stints with the North Sydney Bears, Wentworthville Magpies and Sea Eagles’ feeder team Blacktown Workers.
But not even a 24-hour drop in temperatures from 34C to -2C could dampen Miski’s spirits.
He said: “During my fitness test, it felt like I had ice in my lungs. The first week in England with The Broncos was crazy, I had never seen snow and just arrived at a country in full lockdown from Australia where we were free to do what we wanted.
“My teammates said it was the worst week in terms of cold, but otherwise it was a warm welcome.
“I was weighing up my options at the end of last season. Playing in the Super League has always been a goal of mine and moving to the UK would be a good life experience for me.
“So, when I learnt of the Broncos’ interest I jumped at the opportunity. We’ve got a very close-knit group that is very helpful off the field but similarly eager to win on it. It’s a fresh start for me, new teammates, new coaches, a new country, a new league and new opponents.”
Miski impressed on his Betfred Championship debut by scoring two tries, a trait he is keen to continue as the season progresses ahead of this year’s Rugby League World Cup.
The youngest of five brothers, Miski’s parents were both born in Lebanon before they emigrated to New South Wales in their 20s in search of a new lifestyle.
Miski’s bloodline means he is eligible to represent Lebanon at international level and already has nine caps to his name including four appearances at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
It is experience which he believes has stood him in good stead for a first season outside of the country he was raised in.
“Funnily enough, a few players in the Lebanese team were raised in Australia by parents that had emigrated,” said Miski. “Lebanon has a massive fanbase in Australia, at the last World Cup there were thousands of Australians supporting us, it was surreal.
“Playing internationally is a fantastic experience and I really want to make a mark at this year’s World Cup, especially as it’s being held in England. The game is still growing in Lebanon, but from what I hear the World Cup is supporting the sport’s provision out there which is amazing.
“I must never take my place in the team for granted, though. I’ll be working hard throughout the season with the Broncos to hopefully secure my place in the squad. And by October I should be used to the English weather!”
Thanks to photographer Izzy Lovell for the image of Abbas Miski shown above.