Adam Doueihi says the Wests Tigers’ horror performance against the Knights, coupled with the tragic events that unfolded in in Lebanon, led to his on-field breakdown on Saturday night.
The young fullback was seen in tears on the field after the Tigers’ 44-4 loss to Newcastle, visibly distraught by the events of the previous few days.
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Doueihi, who has proud Lebanese heritage, has since revealed the devastating Beirut explosion was playing on his mind during the game.
“I guess everything just hit me at once,” Doueihi told Channel 7 on Monday.
The images of a distraught @AdamDoueihi6 tugged at the heartstrings of league fans everywhere. The @WestsTigers star has opened up to 7NEWS about what led to his on-field tears. https://t.co/TWh1KQycs4 @7michellebishop #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/ofH5BULZYX— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) August 10, 2020
“It really was a disappointing performance. It was a tough week for us as a Lebanese community.
“The morning it happened I saw my mum straight away and she was pretty distraught.
“I’m not much of a hugger, but I did give her a big hug.”
Doueihi admitted the events in Beirut were weighing on him before the match, with coach Michael Maguire offering some words of comfort.
“He gave me a heads up to try and snap out of it,” Doueihi said.
“And I thought I did and came back in the second half.”
Josh Mansour leads support for Lebanese community
The NRL’s Lebanese stars will band together to help raise funds and awareness for their country as last week’s Beirut blast hit close to home.
Several players had ‘Lebanon’ emblazoned across their wrists at the weekend, including those with no connection to the country other than wanting to offer their support.
Josh Mansour has spent the week calling family and revealed his cousin had only driven out of the Beirut area just half an hour before the explosion that killed at least 158 people.
The Penrith winger took to the field with a Lebanon flag just minutes after his side’s win over Canberra, with an Islamic moon and crucifix drawn displayed alongside ‘Lebanon’ on his strapping.
“The country is going through so much,” Mansour said.
“Not only with this explosion but through COVID, an economic crisis and the government.
“They are looking at a revolution now as well. Things have been piling up. It's the last thing the country needs.
“One of my cousins lives in Beirut but he left 30 minutes before the explosion to visit family.
“The one thing about the Lebanese community, everyone lives in harmony and I wanted to represent that tonight.”
The NRL has a proud connection with the Lebanese community, with Hazem El Masri, Benny Elias and Robbie Farah among the big names.
Mansour said he and several current Lebanese NRL players had spoken since the explosion.
He also made a point to contact Doueihi.
“I know no one (from the NRL) has been directly affected in terms of family members. Which is good, but it's still hard to see,” Mansour said.
“I have been to Lebanon once and it's just such a strong connection
“It's difficult. I want to (organise something) but with COVID and stuff I don't know how it's going to work.
“I am donating clothes and food. I can't go down myself but hopefully my wife will be able to drop stuff off.
“I'm donating money to the Lebanese Red Cross and clothes through Dessert Box. They're getting together a container to get to Lebanon.”