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Australia vs Lebanon

2017 Rugby League World Cup, November 11

Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Australia Lebanon
34 SCORE 0
6 Tries 0
5 Conversions 0
0 Penalty Goals 0
0 Field Goals 0

Match result:

Australia have complete the group stage of the Rugby League World Cup with a dominant performance against Lebanon.

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Final score
Australia 34
Lebanon 0

Match preview:

Australia will be looking to complete their preparation for the Rugby League World Cup finals when they take on a spirited Lebanon in Sydney. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 8pm (AEDT).

While the Kangaroos would need something bordering on a miracle of results going against them to lose top spot in Group A, the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter a great deal.

Regardless of the result, they are playing their quarter-final in Darwin next Friday, against either Samoa, Scotland or – if they lose here and England hammer France – Fiji.

Then, it’s a semi-final against either New Zealand or Tonga. Again, the difference is minimal. Australia will want to keep their form going though and put the Cedars to the side.

More changes headline their side, with Billy Slater having a rest and Cooper Cronk returning alongside James Maloney in the halves.

Cameron Smith will play his 37th straight Test and the combination of Aaron Woods and David Klemmer return up front as Mal Meninga tries to sort out his best 17 heading into the pointy end of proceedings.

The Cedars, on the other hand, only need to not get blown out here to lock in a historic quarter-final appearance. Their first match of the tournament was a virtual knockout against France, and they came away with victory.

For them to now be knocked out, France would have to beat England by a considerable margin, while Lebanon would also have to lose to Australia by a decent margin – the second of those scenarios, of course, is not out of the question.

Yet, Lebanon played a solid game last week against England. They could have rolled over and conceded plenty of points, but time and time again they continued to show up and defend strongly on their own line.

While the scoreboard ended a less than flattering 29-10, it could have been much worse. Robbie Farah, Michael Lichaa and Mitchell Moses all showed plenty in attack, and they get first choice fullback Anthony Layoun back this week.

Scoring a try would be a minor victory for Lebanon, but one thing we do know is that they will give it everything for 80 minutes, regardless of what the scoreboard looks like. The for and against situation should be enough motivation to ensure that happens.

Fitness issues for Lebanon hurt them shortly before halftime last week against England, and if that happens against Australia, the scoreboard could run away in a hurry.

Prediction
Australia should win and win well, but I’m not sure they will put on as many points as they did against France last week. The equation of not getting injured with finals around the corner and a desperate Lebanon team might come into play.

Australia by 32.

Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of this Rugby League World Cup Group A match from 8pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment below.

One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.