As Muslims we are aware that there is no such thing as luck, but in winning the Lebanese Muslim Association’s Men’s League Tag Final on Sunday 21 January, the aptly named victors The Punishers certainly lived up to the old, western saying “second time lucky”.

Runners-up to the formidable Bankstown Spider Men in the same event 12 months earlier, The Punishers headed to Gosling Park at Greenacre in southwestern Sydney for this year’s renewal, determined to claim the $500 first prize.

And this skilful, local team made amends for their defeat in the 2023 Final with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over the gallant second-placed Wazowski in this year’s decider.

The Youth Final for boys aged 16 and under went to yet another curiously named side The Dangleberries, who like The Punishers also generously donated their prize money cheque to Palestine.

MC Mahmoud Ismail flanked by Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Bilal El-Hayek (right)and Mahmoud’s manager, Moses Ismail.

Despite oppressive conditions, with the temperature almost reaching 40 degrees in the early afternoon, quality League Tag (a hybrid version of rugby league where physical tacking is replaced by ‘tagging’) was played throughout the day in front of an appreciative crowd which included Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Bilal El-Hayek.

The National Rugby League (NRL) and the Canterbury Bulldogs were heavily involved in the event and indeed, all proceeds from the day went to the Bulldogs Foundation.

A huge highlight of the day was the appearance of outstanding, young Lebanese Muslim influencer and social media sensation Mahmoud Ismail as the celebrity Master of Ceremonies.

Quality League Tag was the order of the day despite the oppressive weather conditions

Affectionately known as “The Voice of Sydney”, Mahmoud did a grand job in the heatwave conditions, providing a tongue-in-cheek sideline commentary of all as well as handling both presentation ceremonies with great aplomb.

“We’d like to thank Mahmoud Ismail and his brother Moses for their help throughout the day,” LMA Vice President Roy Halabi told AMUST.

“Mahmoud is a true professional who went over and above in his role on the day but he is also very down to earth, is extremely funny and the kids all love him, that’s for sure.”

“The LMA looks forward to working with Mahmoud again, at the same time wishing him well in all his other future endeavours as his star continues to rise and rise.”

“We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors and other supporters including Fettayleh Foods, Bill Chmeisse’s StarChem Pharmacy at Lakemba, The Back Specialist Health Clinic at Greenacre (Dr Tarek Sari), Canterbury-Bankstown Council, OBA Cabramatta Mosque, Young Mosque and Nomadic Coffee.”