Down 24-6 at half time, Malta Knights left their comeback too late with South Africa holding on for a 30-24 victory at St Marys Stadium Sydney.
A tough passionate performance by both teams with big contact and end to end action.
Malta officials whilst disappointed with the result, were impressed with the outstanding debuts from the Cronin brothers.
The Rhinos with a RLIF ranking of 35 were chuffed to have beaten Malta with a ranking of 18
After the match, Rhinos head coach,Jon Wilson said that he was extremely proud of his players for the effort they put in and the passion and tenacity that they showed out on the field.
He also mentioned the great support he received from Assistant coach Isaac Thomas and the rest of the coaching staff. Wilson said it was the best win he has been involved in , in his four years with the Rhinos .
The Rhinos lost two players for the match in the first half,being Wicus Boshoff (ankle 4th minute) and Byron Hutchinson , ruled out with HIA concussion at half time.
In addition to this, Seth Buckley (hamstring) and Chelsea Michael Adams (shoulder) shouldn’t have returned but with no other options both players toughed it out.
With the Rhinos having only one player on the bench for the 2nd half ,the forwards played the house down with the entire pack playing big minutes.
South Africa’s scrambling defence got them over the line in front of a fast finishing Malta Knights. Malta were a tough, well drilled side that never gave up which was evident till the final whistle .