The Lebanon `Cedars’ continue their preparations for RLWC2017, facing a Malta side this Saturday at the New Era Stadium, Cabramatta as part of an international weekend.
LRLF director of performance, Tarek Houchar will take the reins after Ivan Cleary’s resignation last week. It is familiar territory for Houchar, who led the Cedars last May in a narrow defeat to the Cook Islands. “This is a high-profile match for us,” he said. “Our players and staff understand the significance and are passionately committed to every aspect of our preparation. The boys will be focused on improving with every match we play.
“After this we turn our attention to the Mediterranean Cup to be played in Lebanon in June, where we will be meeting Italy in what should be really tough encounter, and continuing to earn the respect of our own nation and that of others to elevate our profile.”
The Malta `Knights’ coach, Peter Cassar noted: “After dropping two places in the world rankings last November this is an incredibly important game for us. We are up against a side with everything to play for, having reached the World Cup later this year. That certainly adds some extra significance.”
“The coaching staff have looked to reward those who played in our earlier Test, against the Philippines, in February,” explained their captain, Jake Attard. “Not only do these players have established combinations with each other, they are also well aware of our values.”
The full match will be live streamed at: https://www.facebook.com/spotonvideo
Also representing Lebanon and Malta, two U18’s sides will meet in a curtain raiser.
LEBANON SQUAD: Mario el Boustani, Nick Kassis (Blacktown Workers), Brandon Bou Melhem, Kayne Kalache, Raymond Moujalli, (Bulldogs) Mark Daoud (Asquith), Abraham el-Zakhem, Elie el-Zakhem, Ahmad Ellaz, Jamie Clark (Auburn Warriors), Bilal Maarbani (Manly Sea Eagles), Ben Chahoud (Mounties), Khaled Deeb (Newtown), Abbas Miskie (North Sydney), Anthony Layout (Parramatta), Raymond Maroun (Penrith), Adam Doueihi (South Sydney), Danny Barakat, Elias Sukkar, Tarek El Masri, Mitchel Mamary (Wentworthville), Andrew Kazzi, Jaleel See-Derbes, (Wests Tigers)
LEBANON U18 SQUAD: Abdalla Mattar, Adam Rizk, (Balmain), Nabil Allouche ( Bass Hill Broncos), Adam Hamawi (Bulldogs), Charbel Bahkos (Enfield Federals), Nathan Chadid (Hills Bulls), Ethan Abou Ghaida (Illawarra), Nicholas Kairouz (Manly), Ali Saad, Anthony Sakr, Arisento Sleiman, George Yarak (Norths), Joshua Boumelhem, Arthur Melhem (Parramatta), Charbel Yacoub (Parramatta City Titans), Joe Akiki (St Johns ), Albert Rahme (St Clair), Jeffrey Alam, Les Abdennour, (St George)
MALTA SQUAD: Samuel Buttel (Asquith Magpies), Dylan Wilson (Ballina Seagulls), Clifford Debattista (Gozo RL – Maltese Islands), Jake Attard, Joel Bradford, Aaron Weston (Hills Bulls), Aaron Grech (La Perouse Panthers), Joshua Martin (Manly Sea Eagles), Luke Cauchi, Jye Ellul (Mounties), Nathan Falzon (Nowra Bomaderry Jets), Nathan Simpson (Picton Magpies), Timothy Good, Matt Thompson (St Clair), Dean Zammit (St Marys), Nathan Benson (Souths Sharks Mackay), Kyal Greene (The Oaks Tigers), Benjamin Stone (West Rosellas RLFC)
MALTA U18 SQUAD: Liam Amato, Luke Azzopardi (Hills District Bulls JRL), Ryan Azzopardi (Riverstone JRL), Dylan Camilleri (St Clair Comets), Joel Cauchi (St Patrick’s Blacktown JRL), Joshua Colin Cregan (Bass Hill Broncos), Joshua Debattista (Cabramatta), Zach Dimech (Wentworthville JRL), Zarrin Galea (Narromine Jets JRL), Trevor Graham (Penrith Waratahs), Lewis Mallia, Jarrod Xerri, Brandon Wing (Windsor), Ben Mallia (South Coast Group 7), Christopher Mercieca (Riverstone JRL), Jasper Schembri (St John’s Dubbo) , Jake Simpson (Tahmoor Roosters), Dane Wilson (Byron Bay RL), Jake Xuereb (Emu Plains JRL), William Zammit (Cooma Colts District JRL).