Lebanon take the next step in preparing for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, when they face Malta at the New Era Stadium in Cabramatta on Saturday 6 May (kick off 7.30), as part of the international weekend.
LRLF director of performance Tarek Houchar will take the reins for the Cedars in the wake of Ivan Cleary’s resignation last week. It is familiar territory for Houchar, who led Lebanon in last May in a narrow defeat to the Cook Islands, after taking over from Darren Maroon.
“This is a high profile match for the Cedars in the lead up to the World Cup,” he said. “Our players and staff understand the significance and are driven, passionate and committed to every aspect of our preparation. The boys will be focused to evolve and improve with every match we play.
“Our attention will also turn to the Mediterranean Cup to be played in Lebanon in June, where we will be hosting Italy in what should be really tough encounter, we will continue to earn the respect of our own nation and that of others, and to elevate our profile.”
“This is an incredibly important game for us after dropping two places in the world rankings last November,” noted Knights coach Peter Cassar. “We are up against a side with everything to play for having reached the World Cup later this year, which certainly adds some extra significance.
Malta captain Jake Attard added that the coaching staff has looked to reward those who played in the Test against the Philippines in February. “Not only do these players have established combinations with each other, but they are also well aware of our values,” he said.
The nations ‘U18s meet in the curtain raiser and the full match will be live streamed at: https://www.facebook.com/spotonvideo
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)
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)