Lebanon skipper Mitchell Moses has backed coach Michael Cheika to thrive in the NRL if he chooses that career path after his side’s 48-4 World Cup exit at the hands of the Kangaroos.
They may have been comprehensively beaten, but Moses praised Cheika for getting his Lebanon players up for the fight of their lives against a formidable opponent in Australia.
“He was unbelievable,” Moses said.
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“The way he can get you up for a game, I’ve never seen it before to be honest.
“You hear about all the stories about how he gets teams up for games and I witnessed it first-hand and loved working under him.
“I think he has got a big future in the NRL if he wants a go at it. I think he could definitely coach a team one day if he sticks at it and if he wants to I guess.
“I definitely got a lot out of that and I think if you speak to anyone in the camp they will definitely agree with me.”
Greg Alexander has no doubt Cheika could succeed as a full-time NRL coach.
“He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Cheika wanted to coach in the NRL that he could handle it,” Alexander said.
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“It certainly doesn’t surprise me either. It will be interesting to see what happens over the coming months and the next year.
“I don’t know how long he is tied up with Argentina for. He helps out everywhere. He is a very busy man.
“He stuck his hand up to coach Lebanon because he loves footy. He loves league even though he is a union man.
“I think he knows all about coaching whether it is rugby or rugby league.
“In rugby union he went through a tough time with the Wallabies, so he is well prepared for what would be facing him if he decided to take on an NRL head coaching job.
“He has got the temperament and the character to be successful, that’s for sure.”
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Cheika admitted Lebanon were outclassed by Australia, but was full of praise for his team’s ability to stay in the fight in the second half after finding themselves down 36-0.
“Obviously they are high quality there is no doubt about that,” Cheika said of Australia.
“They showed their individual brilliance at times.
“But I know with that scoreline we can only sing the praises of one team, but I’d very much like to sing the praises of my own team. Well it’s not my team, our team.
“They could have easily just gone away and said, we’ve had a good tournament, we got to where we wanted to in the quarterfinals and they were coming hard.
“But we came back second half and put our bodies on the line to slow that ruck down and get ourselves back in the contest.
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“That’s really important because that’s who we are as people and that’s what we want to show people that we are never giving up no matter what the odds are against us.
“I think everyone knows Australia is high quality. I would just like to pay tribute to our team because against super high quality opposition we were able to resist when the chips were really down against us.”
Cheika also paid tribute to Moses for leading his team to the quarterfinals, which guarantees them passage to the next World Cup in 2025.
“He’s top shelf,” Cheika said.
“The quality of his game, both defensively and attack-wise.
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“The ability to see what is happening now and what is going to happen. To be able to see through the next phase or this is unfolding out the back and what is going to happen next.
“He is an excellent reader of the game and then the skill-set around his play and his kicking, passing and distribution and courage in defence.
“I don’t want to give him too much of a wrap but he’s got a very good package.
“He’s got the complete package and what he has added here with his leadership around the team has been outstanding.
“He’s kept everyone level going into big contests. He’s given the right advice. He makes the right decisions and more importantly he’s able to come back from adversity.
“I think that is a really important trait in a player, so he’s got a big future. He’s only a young fella, so he will go a long way still.”