12 October 2023

Abbas Miski: Huge honour to be first Lebanese player to feature in Grand Final

12 October 2023

Wigan winger Abbas Miski is excited by the prospect of making history when he becomes the first Lebanon international to feature in a Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The 28-year-old might have struggled to imagine such a scenario in March when he was loaned out to Championship side London Broncos and made his sole appearance in a heavy defeat at Keighley.

But an injury-enforced reshuffle in the Warriors ranks led to Miski grasping a rare first-team opportunity, and 27 tries and a Players’ Player of the Year trophy later, he has inked himself onto head coach Matt Peet’s starting team sheet.

Miski, who played in all four of his country’s matches in last year’s World Cup, told the PA news agency: “To be the first Lebanese player to play in a Grand Final is a huge honour.

“There are a lot of young Lebanese players growing up in Australia and playing in the NRL, and I think Lebanon has the potential to continue developing into a big rugby league country.

“It’s big for the game in Lebanon too. If people see players like myself playing in Super League and the Grand Final, it gives them someone to look up to and to realise playing at this level is not such a dream.”

Miski will emulate fellow Lebanon internationals Hazem El Masri, Robbie Farah, Tim Mannah and Josh Mansour, all of whom have featured in previous NRL Grand Finals in Australia.

Arriving at Wigan from London in 2022, Miski featured sporadically in his initial top-flight campaign but his prospects changed dramatically two weeks after his trip to Cougar Park, when Jai Field was ruled out for eight weeks due to a recurrence of a hamstring injury.

Peet switched Bevan French from the wing, initially to fulfil Field’s full-back role, leaving Miski to take on the vacant slot out wide – and he responded immediately with a pair of tries in his first appearance against Leigh.

By the end of a campaign that culminated in his side squeaking to the League Leaders’ Shield, Miski sat joint-top of the try-scoring charts on 27 alongside Catalans Dragons rival Tom Johnstone.

“I learned such a lot from Bevan having been on the wing, and I think I really benefited from a sustained period in the squad because the previous year had been very stop-start,” added Miski.

If people (in Lebanon) see players like myself playing in Super League and the Grand Final, it gives them someone to look up to and to realise playing at this level is not such a dream

“Going out to London was a conscious decision on my part because I knew I wanted to get some more game time. I could have stayed in the reserves but I really wanted to be ready to play when I got called up.

“It’s been a great season for me and a big honour to get the players’ award. But I am fully focused on the Grand Final because we know how much it means to the fans and the club, and we are all on the same trajectory to achieve our goals.”

Wigan have been boosted by the return of 21-year-old prop Ethan Havard to their provisional squad for the Grand Final, having been ruled out by a hamstring injury since July.

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