Castleford Tigers sign Lebanon World Cup star Charbel Tasipale
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The Australian-born centre or second-rower is the second overseas recruit announced by Tigers this week, following hooker Liam Horne from Queensland Cup outfit Norths Devils.
Tasipale, 23, started in all four of Lebanon’s matches at last year’s World Cup, scoring two tries against Jamaica.
He played for Parramatta Eels’ Jersey Flegg Cup side in 2020 and 2021 before graduating to their New South Wales Cup team.
Tasipale, whose contract includes an option in the club’s favour for 2025, joined Cronulla Sharks last year and has been a regular in their second-grade side, Newtown Jets, this term, scoring seven tries in 16 games.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity that has been given to me to play in Super League,” Tasipale said.
“Not many can say they’ve played at that level so I’m very excited to move over. I found out last week about the interest and everything has moved pretty quickly.
“Obviously leaving home is a big thing, but the moment I realised this is what I’ve dreamed of, I really wanted to go.”
Tasipale is confident he can cope with the standard in Super League, despite never having played in Australia’s top-level NRL.
“In second grade in Australia, the competition is at a really high level because the boys who are not playing NRL every week will come down and play against us,” he said.
“When you are playing against those boys the game is really physical so it’s an elite competition and I’ve worked really hard to get my starting spot. It’s a really hard competition to crack.”
Of where he could play for Tigers, Tasipale added: “Centre is probably my preferred spot, but I’ve been playing second-row this year.
“Playing in the back-row has given me the chance to have the ball more and get involved more in games. I’d say I’m both a second-row and centre.
“I’m not afraid to make my tackles and I offer a lot of speed for a forward. I’ll do whatever I need to do to help the team win.”
Tigers coach Andy Last described Tasipale as a “standout player in the Newtown Jets team this year”.
He said: “We have looked closely and Charbel is very athletic and his line running really caught the eye.
“We feel his desire and ambition are what we want and need. The additions we have made we feel will create some competition for selection, improving performance and ultimately help us get the results we need.”