A dominant first half performance saw the Cedars take the next step in their preparations for the World Cup, in which Lebanon will play in the same group as Australia, England and France.
Finally defeating Malta by 24 points to 4, the Cedars had led at the break 18-4 but the Falcons managed to contain their hosts in the second period to one one converted try. Star player of the show was Lebanon stand off Abbas Miskie, who crossed for a hat-trick of tries and kicked a perfect 4 goals, while loose forward Andrew Kazzi was also a stand-out player.
“With limited time leading into the game we came together well and everyone performed,” said Miskie. “There’s always extra drive when you’re representing Lebanon and the boys definitely showed that passion; the tactical side of things will come with time. It was pleasing to see camaraderie among the group, as I think that is one of the main ingredients for a successful World Cup campaign.”
Lebanon stand-in coach Tarek Houchar noted: “To the Falcons’ credit they kept coming at us for 80 minutes which made me more impressed with our defence in holding them to just one try. If we can carry this attitude into the World Cup anything is possible. There is a good feeling among this playing group and we will develop into a country that can earn the respect of other nations.”
Maltese Falcons’ coach, Peter Cassar was impressed with his side’s resilience. “Aside from being out-enthused for the opening 15 minutes,” he said, “we dug in and were not far off for the rest of the game.
“A packed suburban stadium was evidence that this is a popular fixture, as was an impressive live-stream audience of over thirty thousand viewers,” he noted. “Maltese people in Australia are very proud of their Rugby League team.”
In a curtain-raiser, Lebanon’s U18s defeated their Maltese counterparts 42-6.