The Advice From Fittler That Motivated Miski

It's the simple piece of advice from Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler that has Abbas Miski playing the best football of his promising career.

Dubbed the 'Josh Mansour clone' when representing Lebanon at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, the former North Sydney Bears utility returned to the Parramatta Eels this season – well aware he would spend most of the year playing with the Wentworthville Magpies in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, and Ron Massey Cup.

But while Miski has relished the opportunity to further his development at the Magpies in 2018, the 'less is more' mentality adopted by Fittler and the Cedars throughout the side's World Cup campaign holds the 23-year-old outside back in good stead, still. 

"It was a crazy [experience], you're a bit sceptical about whether you can mix it with the 'big dogs'...and being coached [by Brad Fittler] was amazing," Miski told NSWRL.com.au.

"He just taught me to be a bit smarter with my energy; when to go and when to come back so I can conserve my energy for when it matters so its really helped a lot.

"He (Fittler) was really good [in teaching me] how to be smarter in my position. I sort of base my game around running hard and getting quick play-the-balls...and just knowing what you're doing is right it feels really great."

Seeing Double: Josh Mansour (L) and Abbas Miski (R) at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Seeing Double: Josh Mansour (L) and Abbas Miski (R) at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. ©Greg Porteous/NRLPhotos

Nearly 12 months on since first heading Fittler's advice, Miski proved instrumental in the Magpies' comeback victory over St Marys in the sides' Finals Week One clash last weekend, after the 2017 champions trailed 12-4 at half-time.

 

A fierce performance from @lebanonrl 🇱🇧 . #ENGvLEB #RLWC2017

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It was a position they weren't too familiar with – storming into the Ron Massey Cup Qualifying Final with plenty of confidence after claiming minor premiership honours with two rounds to spare.

But Miski – almost as if he was conserving his energy, just like Fittler had taught him – burst out of the blocks in the second-half.

Sparking the Magpies to the front, Miski ran in two quick-fire tries and laid on another, all in an explosive nine-minute window. 

While it was a 'cometh the moment, cometh the man' period for the evasive fullback, his inspiring performance may not have happened, if not for Fittler's advice.

"I've seen a big difference just implementing what I learned from the World Cup into my game," Miski said.

"It's mainly just about staying calm and picking my moments and knowing when to put my energy in because it's crucial.

"I'll definitely be looking to do that in the finals [matches to come]."

Conserving energy, and being patient. Seizing the moments when they come. Miski – and the Magpies – bided their collective time before swooping upon a Preliminary Finals berth.

But only after an almighty scare.

"We were a bit frantic, there's always a bit of mouthing off in games like this especially when everyone is really energised and sometimes it gets to your head a bit," he said of the come-from-behind win.

"You want to try and put shots on but once fatigue starts setting in things sort of get calm and that's' when it starts to open up.

"We just had to weather the storm a bit and if we did that we knew we could come good in the second half and we did."

The Wentworthville Magpies are now just 80-minutes away from their second-consecutive Grand Final, and will play the winner of the first Semi-Final clash between Mounties and Glebe-Burwood Wolves, in Week Three of the NSWRL Finals Series (15-16 September).