Moses-Farah combo to give Lebanon head-start
Lebanon five-eighth Mitch Moses says his years playing alongside former Wests Tigers teammate Robbie Farah will stand the Cedars in good stead when the pair reunite, this time as halves partners at the 2017 World Cup.
Speaking from Cedars training at his old Concord Oval stomping ground, a pitch where he ran plenty of drills alongside Farah in the pair's three seasons as NRL teammates, Moses says he was pumped to reunite with the 2005 premiership-winner.
"We were talking before [about playing together again], I obviously know Robbie's game pretty well," Moses said.
"We've got that advantage there and I've also played with players like 'Twaley' (prop Alex Twal, who this year joined the Tigers from Moses's current team Parramatta) and Timmy Mannah. We've got a good connection where we can play a bit of footy. It's pretty exciting.
"I had three years with [Farah] at the Tigers. We've been working pretty well at training at the moment so we'll look to take that into the game.
"He's very passionate about this team and what it's about and what it can do for Lebanese rugby league. There's a few other boys here that are very passionate about it. It's really good to be around, it's a really good vibe at the moment."
Farah has played the bulk of his NRL and representative career at dummy-half but is a natural ball-player and has played in the No.7 at NRL level in the past.
His combination with No.6 Moses, who came of age as a ball-player after a strikingly successful mid-season switch to the Eels this year, will be crucial if the Cedars are to nab a vital win in their tournament opener against France.
"Every game's important obviously. We're going to put in some big efforts against England and Australia, they're world class teams but this first game's pretty important for us," Moses said.
"If we win the game it will put us in a good position to make the quarters.
"I don't see why we shouldn't [win], we've got quality players in the main positions. I think that's a very important thing to have, other players can work off us and kind of play their own game and we can kind of take the sting out of it for the boys. We're pretty confident."
Moses's clubmate Anthony Layoun, who played fullback for the Eels under-20s team this year including in the Grand Final loss to Manly, would be one player to watch, according to Moses.
"He's a young kid that's at Parramatta at the moment with us. He played in the 20s this year. If he has a big tournament he'll definitely be looked at," Moses said.
Moses was also looking at the tournament as a chance to get more in touch with his Lebanese roots.
"I'm full Lebanese, my mum and dad are both Lebanese – you wouldn't think it!" Moses laughed.
"They're pretty excited. I haven't really spoken to them about it, what it means to them. Coming into the camp and seeing how passionate the other boys are that are really into it… it means a bit more to all these boys. I came in here open-minded, we had a few chats about what it means to all the boys and it makes it really exciting to play.
"You can see how everyone else goes about it, most of these boys have full time jobs outside of footy so to see them come in here and have that team camaraderie, and how they go about it, it's a lot different to other rep teams I've played in. It's a really good change up."