True Blues | Hazem El Masri
Hazem El Masri was a cult-hero during his time at the Canterbury Bulldogs, known for his impeccable goal-kicking record in high-pressure moments. He was born in Lebanon, and his family fled the country with him when he was just 12-years-old. He moved to Australia, and fell in love with soccer, which is probably a factor towards his goal-kicking ability, which was so good that fans gave him the nickname, “Hazem El Magic”.
His Moment: El Masri only played one State of Origin match for NSW, but it was certainly a debut match to remember. He was called in to the side for Game III of the 2007 series, and while the match was a so-called “dead rubber”, that did not stop El Masri steering the VB Blues to victory with his boot. He kicked three sideline conversions from three attempts, and also scored a try in NSW’s 18-4 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
His Career: El Masri is a part of the illustrious 300-club, having laced up the boots 317 times. Remarkably, he was also a one-club player for the Bulldogs, which makes this achievement more special. He holds the record for most points ever accumulated throughout a career with 2418, and topped the season point scoring list an incredible six times. He also holds the record for most points in a season with 342 in their premiership-winning year of 2004, and became the seventh player to score over 150 tries.
Where Is He Now: El Masri is a devoted Muslim, and was even approached to stand as the Liberal candidate for the seat of Lakemba in the 2011 state election. He has been involved in Rugby League post-retirement, having been an NRL ambassador, a White Ribbon Day ambassador, and kicked a goal in the opening ceremony of AAMI Park in 2010.