Lebanon half-back Khaled Rajab eyeing up NRL debut in 2023

Josh McAllister
Khaled Rajab. PA Images

Lebanon international Khaled Rajab is targeting an NRL debut in 2023 following an impressive tournament at the delayed 2021 World Cup.

Rajab was behind both Mitchell Moses and Adam Doueihi in the pecking under in the halves at Lebanon. However, that didn’t stop the talented youngster from earning his opportunities.

He started in the vital win over Ireland in Leigh, and came off the bench against Jamaica and again in the quarter-final clash against Australia. 

Rajab said he was grateful to learn from his NRL team-mates in Moses and Doueihi, who represent Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers respectively, and is now looking to make his own mark Down Under. 

He is currently contracted with the Canterbury Bulldogs for 2023, and captained their Jersey Flegg side last season.

Khaled Rajab: I wanted to prove to everyone that I belonged here

“I came to the Lebanon camp to learn from Mitch Moses and Adam Doueihi, so when they said I was playing, I was shocked,” said Rajab. 

“It’s been unbelievable. I’ve learnt so much from them. It’s been good. 

“I wanted to prove to everyone that I belonged here, and hopefully I did that. 

“One of my goals for next year is to try and get my debut at the Bulldogs. If I can get that, I’d be extremely grateful. 

“I’m just grateful that people are tuned into me and I’m being seen. It makes me proud that I’ve got my name out there.”

Rajab, who featured for the Bulldogs in the NSW Cup in 2022, says he also wants to inspire the next generation of rugby league players from Lebanon. 

“I want to be a role model for young Lebanese kids coming up,” he added. “I want to be a role model that shows if you put the hard work in, you’ll get the results.”

Robbie Farah backs Lebanon star to make NRL debut in 2023 

Lebanon assistant coach Robbie Farah believes Rajab will make his debut next year. 

The half-back scored one try in three appearances during the World Cup, and also started against Wales in their friendly at Heywood Road.

“He has been very promising,” Farah told Love Rugby League.

“He has that X-factor about him. He’s just a natural footballer and he’s only 20-years-old. 

“There’s no secret they’ve probably struggled in the halves the last couple of years at the Bulldogs, so there’s an opportunity for him. He’ll go back from this World Cup a better player and I have no doubt he’ll make his NRL debut next year.”

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