Preparations for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup ramped up over the weekend with final hit-outs for a number of sides before the competition commences.
With just 10 days until the opening game of the tournament between Australia and England, several sides took to the field over the weekend for friendly games — headlined by the successful tri-series in Fiji between Australia, PNG and the hosts.
Short-priced favourites to take out the trophy, the Kangaroos rested a number of key players for the series but were still too good in their two 40-minute matches — defeating the Kumuls 20-4 and Fiji 18-0, while PNG also beat the home side 10-0 at ANZ Stadium.
Back in Australia, Samoa were pushed all the way in their one-off match against a Country U/23 side in Wagga Wagga — leading 18-6 at half-time before emerging with a hard-fought 40-26 victory in the end. Samoa will now head back to New Zealand before their opening game of the tournament against the Kiwis on October 28, while the Country U/23 side will square off against Scotland on Friday night as a final hit-out for the Bravehearts.
Lebanon also produced a strong performance as they get ready for their first game against France on October 29 — downing the Nuie Islands 32-16 at Leichhardt Oval.
The World Cup will begin on October 27 when Australia takes on England, while New Zealand and Samoa square off in Auckland on October 28 in the opening game of Pool B.
2018 WESTS TIGERS AT THE WORLD CUP
Alex Twal (Lebanon) — Oct. 29 v France, Nov. 4 v England, Nov. 11 v Australia
Elijah Taylor (New Zealand) — Oct. 28 v Samoa, Nov. 4 v Scotland, Nov. 11 v Tonga
Russell Packer (New Zealand) — Oct. 28 v Samoa, Nov. 4 v Scotland, Nov. 11 v Tonga
Kevin Naiqama (Fiji) — Oct. 28 v USA, Nov. 5 v Wales, Nov. 10 v Italy
Taane Milne (Fiji) — Oct. 28 v USA, Nov. 5 v Wales, Nov. 10 v Italy
Mahe Fonua (Tonga) — Oct. 29 v Scotland, Nov. 4 v Samoa, Nov. 11 v New Zealand
Tuimoala Lolohea (Tonga) — Oct. 29 v Scotland, Nov. 4 v Samoa, Nov. 11 v New Zealand
OTHER WESTS TIGERS IN ACTION
Nathan Milone (Italy) — Oct. 29 v Ireland, Nov. 5 v USA, Nov. 10 v Fiji
Jaleel Seve-Derbas (Lebanon) — Oct. 29 v France, Nov. 4 v England, Nov. 11 v Australia
Andrew Kazzi (Lebanon) — Oct. 29 v France, Nov. 4 v England, Nov. 11 v Australia