Lebanon coach Brad Fittler has named his 24-man squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup with a host of NRL experience.
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, 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.
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 October 29.
“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 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 World Cup Squad
Robbie Farah (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Mitchell Moses (Parramatta Eels)
Danny Barakat (Wentworthville)
Jamie Clark (Auburn Warriors)
Adam Doueihi (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
James Elias (West Newcastle)
Ahmad Ellaz (Auburn Warriors)
Nick Kassis (Blacktown Workers)
Andrew Kazzi (Wests Tigers)
Anthony Layoun (Parramatta Eels)
Michael Lichaa (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Mitchell Mamary (Wentworthville)
Bilal Maarbani (Manly Sea Eagles)
Abbas Miski (North Sydney)
Tim Mannah (Parramatta Eels)
Ray Moujalli (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Reece Robinson (unattached)
Travis Robinson (Newtown)
Chris Saab (Blacktown Workers)
Raymond Sabat (Lycans FC)
Jaleel Seve-Derbas (Wests Tigers)
Elias Sukkar (Wentworthville)
Alex Twal (Wests Tigers)
Jason Wehbe (unattached)