Rabbitohs hooker Robbie Farah has been named captain of the Lebanon World Cup squad which has been named tonight (Thursday) ahead of the start of the Rugby League World Cup which will kick off next month.
Farah has been selected alongside Rabbitohs young gun Adam Doueihi and North Sydney Bears’ Abbas Miski. Doueihi has followed up his selection for Lebanon earlier this year with inclusion in the Lebanon World Cup squad.
The Cedars will come up against Australia, England and France in their pool matches, with Parramatta Eels playmaker Mitchell Moses being named as vice-captain for the Cedars’ first Rugby League World Cup appearance since 2000.
Former Eels, Raiders and Broncos fullback Reece Robinson will make his return to Rugby League after spending the last two seasons with the NSW Waratahs in Super Rugby.
Other players with NRL experience include Parramatta skipper Tim Mannah, Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa, Wests Tigers prop Alex Twal, former Rabbitoh Ray Moujalli and Travis Robinson – while the remainder of the squad is made-up of a host of young Lebanese talent who will get to showcase their skills on the world stage.
The local Lebanese Rugby League competition will also be represented with Raymond Sabat from Lycans FC selected in the final squad, while four other players from that competition will travel with the team throughout the tournament with an aim to take their experiences back to Lebanon.
Lebanon Coach Brad Fittler said he was pleased with how the squad has come together, with preparation well underway ahead of Lebanon’s first match of the tournament against France in Canberra on 29 October.
“It was tough selecting a final squad for the Rugby League World Cup,” Fittler said.
“I think one of the hardest but most gratifying things is watching how disappointed some players were for not making it.
“If the love of this game is any guide to how we will play, then we will be very competitive in this tournament.
"These players have a great passion for the game of Rugby League and it’s a quality squad that we have assembled.
“Most the team are either playing first grade, NSW Cup or Ron Massey Cup, so they have a good level of fitness and that’s going to be important that they are able to last and concentrate for the whole tournament.
“Looking at the squad, we have two front rowers (Tim Mannah and Alex Twal) who are regular NRL players so that will be a huge benefit for us.
“We just have to get it right in these tough pool matches, we won’t get any second chances and that has been the message for the team.
“The fact is that only half a dozen of our squad are full-time professionals, so we need to make every opportunity count.”
Lebanon will play Niue this Saturday 14 October at Leichhardt Oval in a warm-up match for the RLWC.
The Lebanon Cedars’ RLWC 2017 squad is:
Robbie Farah (Captain – Rabbitohs)
Mitchell Moses (Vice Captain – Eels)
Danny Barakat (Wentworthville)
Jamie Clark (Auburn)
Adam Doueihi (Rabbitohs)
James Elias (West Newcastle)
Ahmad Ellaz (Auburn)
Nick Kassis (Blacktown)
Andrew Kazzi (Tigers)
Anthony Layoun (Eels)
Michael Lichaa (Bulldogs)
Mitchell Mamary (Wentworthville)
Bilal Maarbani (Sea Eagles)
Abbas Miski (North Sydney)
Tim Mannah (Eels)
Ray Moujalli (Bulldogs)
Reece Robinson (unattached)
Travis Robinson (Newtown)
Chris Saab (Blacktown)
Raymond Sabat (Lycans FC)
Jaleel Seve-Derbas (Tigers)
Elias Sukkar (Wentworthville)
Alex Twal (Tigers)
Jason Wehbe (unattached)
Lebanon’s RLWC Pool matches are:
Lebanon vs France (29 October, GIO Stadium, Canberra)
Lebanon vs England (4 November, Allianz Stadium, Sydney)
Lebanon vs Australia (11 November, Allianz Stadium, Sydney)