Lebanon had their best World Cup performance five years ago, and will be looking to match or better the performance with a number of talented youngsters set to break into their side for the 2022 Rugby League World Cup.

Michael Cheika - the former Wallabies boss - has taken over as coach of the Cedars, and fans of the nation can be excited by some of the emerging talent who will be on display during the tournament in England.

Lumped into a tough group, they will need to likely get the better of Ireland or otherwise force an upset against New Zealand while beating Jamaica to make it into the quarter-finals as they did in 2017.

But with two star NRL players set to lead the way in the halves, and other Lebanon regulars, as well as the confidence they will have taken out of beating Malta in the mid-year Test at Belmore, the Cedars will enter the tournament with more expectations over their level of performance than they ever have.

That mid-year Test against Malta - played on a Thursday night - saw no NRL-level talent take part, although they all attended the game, which only adds to the feeling within the squad ahead of the tournament.

Here is how Lebanon will line up for the World Cup.

Full squad

Jalal Bazzaz (Wests Illawarra), Adam Doueihi (Wests Tigers), Hanna El-Nachar (Penrith Panthers), Toufic El-Hajj (American University of Beirut), Elie El-Zakhem (Parramatta Eels), Atef Hamdan (Wolves, Lebanon), Kayne Kalache (Newtown Jets), Andrew Kazzi (Western Suburbs Magpies), Jacob Kiraz (Canterbury Bulldogs), Bilaal Maarbani (Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles), Anthony Layoun (St Marys Saints), Josh Mansour (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Josh Maree (Wentworthville United), Tony Maroun (Ryde-Eastwood Hawks), Abbas Miski (Wigan Warriors), Brandon Morkos (Canberra Raiders), Mitchell Moses (Parramatta Eels), Jaxson Rahme (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Khalil Rahme (Mt Pritchard Mounties), Khaled Rajab (Canterbury Bulldogs), Reece Robinson (unattached), James Roumanos (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Mikey Tannous (Wests Tigers), Charbel Tasipale (Newtown Jets)


The question of who will play fullback for Lebanon is potentially the toughest one to answer, and given the importance of the role, potentially the most critical.

They have three genuine options to play fullback, and then others who could be considered, with the likes of Josh Mansour, Adam Doueihi and Bilaal Maarbani all able to play the position.

That said, one of the genuine options should be given first crack, with both Anthony Layoun and Tony Maroun playing at Sydney Shield level for St Marys and Ryde-Eastwood respectively.

That should open the door for Canterbury Bulldogs youngster Khaled Rajab to take the number one jumper for the Cedars after he made his NSW Cup debut at the back end of the year.

Not needing to use Doueihi in the number six frees him up to play his preferred role at five-eighth, where he will combine in a star halves partnership with Lebanon's most important player in Mitchell Moses.

Moses is fresh off taking the Parramatta Eels to a grand final and should be in for a big tournament for the Cedars, who he has played for previously.

As he did in the mid-year Test, Wests Tigers' young gun Mikey Tannous, who has struggled with injury, will take the number nine jumper without a great deal of back up in the squad.


The backline is a race between six to fill four spots on the wings and at centre. All of Abbas Miski, Jacob Kiraz, Bilaal Maarbani, Josh Mansour, Brandon Morkos and Reece Robinson will battle for the spots.

On the back of an excellent NRL season, Jacob Kiraz should be first picked, although his versatility means he is flexible to play at either wing or centre pending on who is picked around him.

Veteran Josh Mansour will be the next picked, taking one of the wing spots alongside Abbas Miski, who is currently in the Wigan Warriors' system.

That means Kiraz automatically moves into the centres, with Morkos the most likely option to take the other spot on what would be his Lebanon debut.

He played for the New South Wales under-19 team last year and is highly rated with a first grade debut on the horizon. Cheika could yet opt to go for experience though, which would bring Maarbani or Robinson into the side.


The forward pack carries far less experience than the backline for the Cedars.

Expect Hannal El-Nachar, who started Lebanon in the mid-year Test and has made a name for himself as an up and comer at Penrith, where he was part of the Jersey Flegg premiership, to start alongside Khalil Rahme from the Mounties set up.

Their middle third depth is complemented by captain Kayne Kalache, who will almost certainly start at lock, while Toufic El-Hajj, who plays in the local Lebanon league, Elie El-Zakhem at the Parramatta Eels and Atef Hamdan, another player out of the local competition provide the depth in the middle third.

On the edge, James Roumanos, arguably their most experienced forward, will take one of the jerseys after a strong season in the lower levels for Manly, while Jaxson Rahme, who plays lowe level football at the Rabbitohs, will take the other side of the park.

A handful of players yet to crack the NRL in Andrew Kazzi from Western Suburbs, Josh Maree from Wentworthville United and Charbel Tasipale from Newtown will round out the squad.


Expect Lebanon to run with one of their experienced backs on the bench. In the event of injury, plenty of players within the backline are adaptable to play other positions, including Doueihi and Miski.

That means Maarbani's position in the team should be saved by a spot on the pine.

The other three spots will go to forwards, with Andrew Kazzi likely to be the second rower selected to provide the game-day back up to Roumanos and Rahme, while Toufic El-Hajj and Elie El-Zakhem will also likely be selected to round out the best 17 for the Cedars.

Best 17

1. Khaled Rajab
2. Abbas Miski
3. Jacob Kiraz
4. Brandon Morkos
5. Josh Mansour
6. Adam Doueihi
7. Mitchell Moses
8. Hanna El-Nachar
9. Mikey Tannous
10. Khalil Rahme
11. James Roumanos
12. Jaxson Rahme
13. Kayne Kalache (c)
14. Bilaal Maarbani
15. Andrew Kazzi
16. Toufic El-Hajj
17. Elie El-Zakhem

Key information

Group: C
Coach: Michael Chieka
Captain: Kayne Kalache
Number of World Cups: 2
Best World Cup performance: Quarter-finals (2017)

Mobnday, October 17, 5:30am: vs New Zealand
Monday, October 24, 12:30am: vs Ireland
Sunday, October 30, 11:00pm: vs Jamaica