Castleford Tigers have tonight confirmed the signing of Elie El-Zakhem, who makes the move over from down under on a deal running until the end of 2025.
The 25-year-old joins Cas from Australian outfit North Sydney Bears, the feeder club for NRL giants Sydney Roosters. El-Zakhem reached the final of the New South Wales Cup with the Bears this term.
A Lebanon international, El-Zakhem played for the Cedars at last year’s World Cup on their run to the quarter-finals, scoring against Jamaica before being knocked out by eventual champions Australia.
Born in Merrylands, he offers versatility, able to play in virtually every position in the forward pack with further experience at centre earlier on in his career.
Castleford Tigers snap up overseas utility
The Cedars ace is relishing the prospect of running out at the Jungle. He told Cas’ club website: “I’m pretty keen to get over to the UK! When I got the offer, I was excited and tried getting it done straight away. It’ll be pretty good to showcase my talent in Super League.
“I’ve heard from players I know over there and it’s good things I’m hearing I’m good friends with Jordan Rankin and he’s given me a bit of a rundown; he told me its good and I’ve heard a lot of good things from him.
“I’ll be coming over alone so I’m a bit anxious, but I’m excited at the same time to get started. I’m good friends with Charbel Tasipale so it’ll be good to have him there to help me settle in.”
Fords pack coming together for 2024
El-Zakhem becomes the Tigers’ second signing of the day, following the announcement of Papua New Guinea international Nixon Putt.
He also joins on a two-year deal, with confirmation still needed on who will be at the helm next term. Current boss Danny Ward was only appointed till the end of 2023, though looks the favourite to remain in place.
Last night, the Fords confirmed the re-signing of veteran and hometown boy Joe Westerman, who will now end his career at the Jungle having made more than 150 appearances for the club already.