PREVIEW: Australia v Lebanon

James Maloney is set to start for Australia

Australia are already in the quarter-finals but Lebanon will be hoping to cause a huge upset against the tournament favourites. 

The Kangaroos put in a clinical display last weekend as they eased past France 52-6 at the Canberra Stadium, after beating England 18-4 in the opening game of the tournament the week before.

Meanwhile, Lebanon have been one of the surprise teams at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, beating France 29-18 in the first weekend while putting in a credible display last week against England, with 29-10 being the scoreline.

Australia, in Rugby League, are always the favourites, no matter who they come up against and are slowly on course to going far in the tournament again having won their first two games and they will want to head into the quarter-finals with three wins from three in Group A.

Lebanon have showed great spirit in the World Cup so far and have contested at the highest level, which is remarkable when a number of their players only play Rugby League part-time.

Whenever Cedars head coach Brad Fittler has handed them a day-off in the tournament, some of the players have actually gone in to work but they are working hard in these few weeks on and off the field so they can make their nation proud.

And Australia boss Mal Meninga has rested a couple of players for the quarter-finals next week, with James Maloney and Ben Hunt coming into the side.

The game is being hosted at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday so Australia will be looking to put on a good show for the Rugby League hotbed.

KEY BATTLE

The key battle that stands out among the rest for the game is the one between Australia’s No. 10 and Lebanon favourite Tim Mannah. Klemmer has been one of the best front-rowers in the competition so far with him being so difficult to tackle one-on-one.

Mannah has certainly become popular among Cedars fans in the tournament so far. He has a lot of experience in the NRL, playing over 200 games for Parramatta Eels. The 29-year-old is a big figure and causes problems for defences with his no-nonsense approach.

ONES TO WATCH

There are a lot of individuals to keep an eye out for in the Australia side while there are also a few in the Lebanon outfit. All eyes will be on Kangaroos star Valentine Holmes, who will start at full-back, despite being a winger by trade. He has got a clean pair of heels and likes to terrorise defences with his quick feet.

Canterbury Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa is a great player to watch for Lebanon. The 24-year-old has played 80 NRL games since making his debut for Cronulla Sharks back in 2014. He loves to scoot from dummy-half and is great at taking on the line.

THE TEAMS

AUSTRALIA: 1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Dane Gagai, 3. Tom Trbojevic, 4. Cameron Munster, 5. Josh Mansour, 6. James Maloney, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Cameron Smith (C), 10. David Klemmer, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Felise Kaufusi. Subs: 14. Ben Hunt, 15. Jordan McLean, 16. Regan Campbell-Gillard, 17. Wade Graham. Reserves: 18. Josh McGuire, 19. Michael Morgan, 20. Josh Dugan, 21. Billy Slater.

LEBANON: 1. Anthony Layoun, 2. Travis Robinson, 3. James Elias, 4. Adam Doueihi, 5. Abbas Miski, 6. Mitchell Moses, 7. Robbie Farah (C), 8. Tim Mannah, 9. Michael Lichaa, 10. Alex Twal, 11. Chris Saab, 12. Ahmad Ellaz, 13. Nick Kassis. Subs: 14. Mitchell Mamary, 15. Ray Moujalli, 16. Jamie Clark, 17. Andrew Kazzi. Reserves: 18. Jason Wehbe, 19. Danny Barakat, 20. Elias Sukkar, 21. Daniel Abou-Sleiman.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee – James Child, Touch Judges – Chris Sutton & Belinda Sleeman, Video Referee – Bernard Sutton.

THE FAVOURITE

Australia are favourites to win the 2017 Rugby League World Cup and they are favourites against Lebanon as well. They have a world class talent all over the park and loverugbyleague.com predicts the Kangaroos by 32 points.

You can watch the game LIVE on Premier Sports at 9am on Saturday 11 November.

How do you see the game going? Who will win? Let us know in the comments below.

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