6 November, 2017, 12:00 am
The full-time siren ringing in their ears, the Lebanese faithful at Sydney Football Stadium danced in the aisles to the beat of their own drums.
The Cedars — despite their best attempts — had fallen 29-10 to England in the sides’ Rugby League World Cup week two pool match. But you wouldn’t have known it.
Overcome with pride and passion, the boisterous crowd of 10,237 let it be seen and heard their appreciation for what they’d witnessed.
“It was great, obviously, we had a great win down in Canberra against a solid French team and we knew that tonight’s (last night) was going to be a step up in class,” Lebanon captain Robbie Farah said moments after the match.
“I just asked the boys for effort, and to walk off the field being proud of our effort.
“As captain, I couldn’t be prouder of them and happier than with the effort that they had put in.
“We’ve had guys shoot off to work in between training sessions, majority of our team are park footballers.
“When you’re coming up against world-class players and a team that has played consistent footy together, we definitely didn’t embarrass ourselves that’s for sure.”
Buoyed by their 29-18 triumph in week one of the World Cup, the Cedars headed into the clash with England still holding the belief that they took into their match with France in Canberra last Sunday.
Faced with challenges — those both within, and out of their control — in the lead up to the match with England, Cedars coach Brad Fittler said the spirit on show was that worthy of earning the respect of their upcoming opposition. “To put things the whole thing into perspective, last week we had blokes concussed that we couldn’t play. We had a bloke that was injured who is now getting an operation,” coach Brad Fittler said.
“So, to come and play like that, that’s what’s most impressive about what they’ve done.
“The second-half was pretty impressive really. Under a lot of pressure, we used the ball, supported each other well and came up with some pressure passes.”
Looking ahead to week three of the campaign, the task doesn’t get easier for Lebanon, who round out the last of their pool matches versus tournament-favourites Australia at Allianz Stadium next Saturday evening.
“It’s going to be much of the same as it was tonight (last night), we’ve just got to show up with that sort of effort and to keep working hard for each other,” Farah said.
“It’s another opportunity for us to spend some time on the training paddock through the week. Another game of footy under our belt, which will hold us in good stead, hopefully for a quarter-final.”