Australia defeat brave Lebanon

Australia guaranteed top spot in group A as they defeated a spirited Lebanon outfit in front of a passionate crowd at the Sydney Football Stadium.

A controversial penalty for a ball steal, when it seemed there was only one in the tackle, was taken advantage of when a cut-out pass from James Maloney found Cameron Munster who got over the line untouched.

Lebanon had to play the rest of the game with three subs after second-row forward Chris Saab was taken off after a heavy collision with David Klemmer, who was put on report for the incident

Australia continued to be dominant but handling errors let Lebanon off the hook on numerous occasions. Josh Mansour looked certain to score only to spill the ball with the line begging.

Their lead was extended after Australia capitalised on a Lebanese mistake from a high kick with Maloney following up a Reagan Campbell-Gillard offload to score.

This was anything but vintage Australia as the Cedars defensive line held strong, restricting them to just ten points in the half.

Munster scored his second of the game using his agility to step through three players to score underneath the posts.

The result looked beyond doubt with 24 minutes to go after Boyd Cordner touched down a Maloney grubber.

With 15 minutes left Aaron Woods was the second Australian player to go on report for a dangerous tackle on Tim Mannah.

From the resulting penalty Lebanon had their best chance of the game with Adam Doueihi going close in the corner, but he was unable to get the ball down.

Dane Gagai scored in the corner with just minutes remaining from a perfectly weighted kick by Cooper Cronk and followed shortly by another, Valentine Holmes breaking through to feed Tom Trbojevic.

The final score of 34-0 perhaps slightly flattered Australia, who will take on Samoa next Friday in the quarter finals. Lebanon will be hoping France fail to beat England tomorrow so they can progress.

Australia: Holmes, Gagai, Trbojevic, Munster, Mansour, Maloney, Cronk, Woods, Smith, Klemmer, Cordner, Gillett Kaufusi. Interchange: Hunt, McLean, Campbell-Gillard, Graham.

Lebanon: Layoun, Barakat, Elias, Doueihi, Miski, Moses, Farah, Mannah, Lichaa, Moujalli, Saab, Ellaz, Clark. Interchange: Twal, Mamary, Kazzi, Wehbe.

Picture: NRL Photos