AAP Rugby

Farah takes swipe at Lebanon teammates

By AAP Newswire

Lebanon skipper Robbie Farah has taken a swipe at players who failed to make themselves available for the Cedars, labelling them "a bit disrespectful".

Wests Tigers veteran Farah oozes passion for the Lebanon jersey and says he could have taken the representative round off but has instead chosen to play Saturday's Test against Fiji at Leichhardt Oval.

Farah warned that Lebanon risked falling behind the likes of Tonga and Samoa and could fail to capitalise on those teams' World Cup success.

"In my opinion it's disappointing we haven't got some of our most senior players playing this week," Farah said.

"You've seen guys like Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita commit to Tonga when they could have easily gone and taken the money and played for New Zealand (or Australia).

"And until we start taking it seriously and treat it like you are playing for Australia or New Zealand, then the game's not going to grow.

"The guys that aren't with us this week, it is fairly disappointing and a bit disrespectful."

The Cedars are missing several NRL regulars including Parramatta's Mitchell Moses, South Sydney's Adam Doueihi, Penrith's Josh Mansour and Farah's Tigers teammate Alex Twal.

It's believed Twal, 22, is being managed by the club after he this year stepped up to become a regular starter and his average minutes have ballooned from 36 in 2018 to 57 this year.

The Rabbitohs say it was always their intention to give Doueihi the week off after he spent nine months on the sidelines with an ACL injury and only returned three weeks ago.

Mansour was desperate to play but was ruled out by the Panthers medical staff on Monday after requiring painkilling injections in his injured shoulder over the last six weeks.

Farah meanwhile warned the Cedars could be stripped of their place in the 2021 World Cup unless the country's domestic competition resumes.

The Lebanon players are in the midst of a dispute with the country's governing body and will on Saturday tape over the Lebanon Rugby League Federation logo on their jerseys.

At the heart of the issue is the LRLF's recent board elections, which Farah called "unfair and immoral", and resulted in players boycotting the local competition.

"The players over there since the World Cup in 2017 have refused to play for various reasons, most of that is stemming from administration," Farah said.

"We need Lebanon to prosper. And that's not going to happen without a domestic competition. We're pretty firm that we're after some change.

"Fact is, if we don't get a domestic competition going we'll probably be stripped of our right to play in the World Cup in 2021 which we've already qualified for."