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NRL Ambassador and Bulldogs legend Hazem El Masri will attend the NSW premiere of Fordson, the award-winning documentary about sport and its ability to break down social barriers.

Fordson, a film about faith and football in the United States, will premiere in Sydney on Sunday, September 23, on the eve of the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final Week celebrations.

Presented by the Islamic Council of Victoria’s Office for Women, with the support of the NRL, the film’s first public screening in Sydney will take place at 4:00pm at the Hoyts Cinema in Bankstown.

After the screening El Masri will take part in a panel discussion on sport and faith, along with Sydney based international Rugby League player Walid Yassine.

“One of my passions is to look at ways we can use sport to build bridges across cultures and help create futures, so I look forward to sharing my thoughts and hearing the thoughts and experiences my fellow panel members,” Hazem El Masri said.

A Lebanese born Australian, Hazem has been a uniting community voice, who helped to Bulldogs to the 2004 Premiership and remains the NRL Highest Points Scorer with 2,418 points.

During his illustrious career Hazem represented City, Origin, NSW, Australia and Lebanon.

NRL Interim Chief Executive, Shane Mattiske paid tribute to the role Hazem continues to play in both Rugby League and the community.

“Inclusiveness is at the heart of Rugby League and Hazem has shown time and time again how sport can bring people together in an atmosphere of rivalry and respect.” Mattiske said.

In 2002, Hazem was awarded the Ken Stephen Medal, Rugby League’s top honour for community service and is widely respected for his community work with young people he was also awarded the inaugural Women in League Favourite Son Award in 2009.

"Hazem is an amazing role model among young Muslim Australians in New South Wales and we're thrilled to be working with him to premiere this film in the state," The head of the health and wellbeing portfolio in the ICV Office for Women, Rana Hussain said.

The ICV Office for Women is the first dedicated women's portfolio within a peak Australian state Islamic body, and aims to encourage Muslim women's participation in Australian society through programs and events that enhance their physical and emotional health


About the film
At Fordson High in Dearborn, Michigan, more than ninety per cent of the students are Arab-American. The school’s football team the Tractors are preparing for their cross-town grudge match against an affluent school in a wealthier part of town. It’s Ramadan, and the kids are fasting as they undergo a demanding training schedule. And the big game is days away from the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, in the city they call the “Muslim capital” of the United States.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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