Ex-player helps out as Castleford Tigers sign Lebanon World Cup star
Tigers today (Friday) confirmed the signing of Lebanon international Elie El-Zakhem from New South Wales Cup side North Sydney Bears – who are a feeder club to NRL giants Sydney Roosters – on a two-year contract.
And the 25-year-old second-rower revealed Jordan Rankin, who played for Tigers in 2019 and 2020, recommended the club to their newest addition.
“I’ve heard from players I know over there and it's good things I’m hearing,” El-Zakhem said. “I’m good friends with Jordan Rankin and he has given me a bit of a rundown. I’ve heard a lot of good things from him.”
El-Zakhem featured for Lebanon at last year’s World Cup, when he played alongside Tigers’ Charbel Tasipale.
“We’re good friends so it’ll be good to have him there to help me settle in,” he said of Tasipale. “I’m pretty keen to get over to the UK.
“When I got the offer, I was pretty excited and tried getting it done straight away. It’ll be pretty good to showcase my talent in the Super League.”
El Zakhem has also played for Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Parramatta Eels in the NSW Cup. He made his last appearance for Bears in this year’s Grand Final defeat to the Rabbitohs.
He scored five tries in 25 games during 2023 and is expected to arrive at Castleford in November to begin pre-season training.
“I’ll be coming over alone so I’m a bit anxious , but I’m excited at the same time to get started,” he added.
Earlier today Tigers announced the signing of another World Cup second-rower Nixon Butt, who played for Papua New Guinea at the 2022 World Cup.