Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
Australia, the world champions came into this match as massive favourites and were expected to rack up a cricket score against Lebanon. However the Cedars backed up their stunning performance against England last week with another great effort, restricting Australia to just 4 tries in 75 minutes before letting a pair of quick tries in at the end of the game.
Early on, James Maloney threw a brilliant ball to Munster, which put the centre outside his defender and with an easy stroll to the try line. Smith failed to convert and after 10 minutes Australia lead 4-0.
Fifteen minutes later and Cronk took on the line, passed to Campbell-Gillard who made a half break and then offloaded to Maloney backing up who waltzed in for the Kangaroo's second try of the game. Smith converted from almost in front.
Australia looked certain to score with six minutes remaining in the first half, but the determined Lebanon scrambling defence not only denied them, but also came up with the ball.
A heavy clash between Klemmer and Woods with Saab, left the Cedars back rower with a nasty head knock which saw him ruled out for the rest of the game after failing his HIA.
Lebanon had few attacking chances, but their defensive was immense in the first 40.
It took ten minutes for the second half scoring to start when Australia strolled downfield after back-to-back penalties. A stray pass was picked up by Munster who then stepped his way through the defence to score under the posts. Maloney converted.
Five minutes later, a Cronk grubber was pounced on by Boyd Corner who scored, with Maloney again converting.
The next twenty minutes again saw Lebanon gallant in defence but getting little ball in attacking position, while plenty of tackles against both sides were awarded. With four minutes remaining in the game, Cronk placed a little chip to Gagai perfectly with the winger scoring untouched. Maloney's sideline conversion was a peach.
With 90 seconds remaining, Holmes burst through a gap and then put Tom Trbojevic over for a try. Maloney converting to give the Kangaroos a clear 34-0 win.
Australia 34 - Lebanon 0
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Halftime Score: Australia 10 Lebanon 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Cooper Cronk
2 points - Cameron Munster
1 points - James Maloney
Tries: Cameron Munster (2), James Maloney, Boyd Cordner, Dane Gagai, Tom Trbojevic
Conversions: Cameron Smith (1/2), James Maloney (4/4)