Bulldogs Heritage - Hazem El Masri
Saturday 22 September 2012 8:00 AM
One of the Bulldogs greatest ever players. After 14 years of first grade football for the club, Hazem became Rugby League's highest pointscorer with a total of 2,418 points.
Hazem tops the Bulldogs highest point scorer and try scorer list with 2,418 and 159 respectively.
Hazem passed 2,000 first grade points in the Bulldogs 52-4 win over Canberra on August 12 2007 with a try. He joined an elite group of just three players to achieve the milestone - Daryl Halligan (2,034), Jason Taylor (2,107) and Andrew Johns (2,176).
Hazem is placed first on the club's first grade games list with 317 - 45 more than club legend Steve Mortimer (272). He became the club's most capped player against Manly on June 22, 2007 when he ran out for his 314th club appearance - only the second player to have played 300 club games for the Bulldogs - the other being former coach Steve Folkes, who played 313 games for the Bulldogs across all grades.
The boy from Tripoli in Lebanon made his way to Australia at the age of 10. He quickly developed a liking towards Rugby League and with his soccer background he managed to form the sharp-shooting right boot we witness today.
Hazem joined the club in 1995 as a 19-year-old fullback and after being a regular member of the Under 21 team, Hazem started the 1996 season playing on the wing in first grade. He was a regular member of the team but was relegated for Shane Marteene late in the season.
In 1997, Hazem played every game in first grade including the 14-15 Preliminary Semi Final loss against Penrith.
In 1998, Hazem started the season in first grade but was relegated for Paul Mellor to become a regular member of the reserve grade team. Hazem broke the record for most reserve grade tries in a season, beating Scott Wilson's 1993 record before playing fullback in the Premiership winning team against Parramatta.
In 1999, Hazem returned to first grade when Daryl Halligan was injured and has secured that wing position for his last 11 seasons. Season 1999 also saw Hazem kick his first goal in first grade during the Bulldogs 17-26 loss to Melbourne. He managed to play in the Semi Final against Melbourne where the 'Dogs fell just short - losing 22-24 at the Sydney Football Stadium.
In season 2000, Hazem played every game and finished the season at fullback after Rod Silva was relegated.
With the retirement of Daryl Halligan at the end of 2000, season 2001 saw Hazem appointed as goal kicker and after playing every game that season, he equalled Daryl Halligan's record for the most points in a season (270) and equalled Chris Anderson's record for most tries in a season (19). Hazem played in the crushing 10-52 Semi Final loss against Cronulla.
In 2002, Hazem played every game and finshed the season as the competition's leading point scorer and became the third Bulldogs player to score 100 Club tries. Along the way he broke Paul Langmack's record of 94 consecutive games. The 2002 season also saw Hazem selected to play his only Test for Australia.
In 2003, he played every game and broke the NRL record for the most points scored in a season (294) whilst breaking the record for the most consecutive goals with 35. Hazem played in the 18-28 Preliminary Final loss against the Roosters.
In 2004, Hazem once again played every game and broke his previous record for the most points in a season, being the first player to score 300 points in a season (342). He broke Terry Lamb's club record for the most club tries in a career. Hazem played in the Premiership winning team against the Roosters and scored his 100th first grade try in the 16-13 Grand Final win.
In 2004, Hazem was nominated for the Berries to Bulldogs 70 Year Team of Champions.
In season 2005, Hazem scored 16 points in the Bulldogs 32-39 World Club Challenge loss against the Leeds Rhinos. He then went on to break Daryl Halligan's record for scoring the most points for the club before also breaking Daryl Halligan's record for most first grade points for the club. After playing 174 consecutive first grade games for the club, the sequence was broken when he was injured late in the season.
In 2006, Hazem played every game (2083 minutes) and was the competition's leading point scorer (296) for the fourth time. He managed a goal kicking percentage of just over 86% with 114 goals landed from 132 attempts, whilst scoring 17 tries on his way to breaking Terry Lamb's record for most first grade tries in a career (123). He also broke Terry Lamb's record for the most points in a match when he scored 34 points (four tries and nine goals) against the Wests Tigers in Round 2 at Telstra Stadium. Hazem played in the 20-37 Preliminary Final loss against the Brisbane Broncos.
On July 4, 2007 Hazem made his State of Origin debut at Suncorp Stadium for New South Wales - scoring 10 points from three difficult conversions and a four-pointer in the dying stages to help the Blues to an 18-4 victory.
Hazem was again the NRL top point scorer in season 2007 - the fifth time in his career. He scored 202 points after the regular rounds and added a further eight points to his tally in the finals series (210).
He scored 10 tries, kicked 77/97 conversions, kicked 8/8 penalty goals, missed just one match due to Origin duties and played a total of 2000 minutes of football for the blue-and-whites in season 2007.
In all, he has played 18 Jersey Flegg games (or equivalent), 30 Premier League games (or reserve grade equivalent), seven World Club Challenge games and 317 first grade games.
It would be hard to argue with someone claiming Hazem El Masri to be the best goal kicker the game has ever seen. In his 372 club games, El Masri has scored 194 tries and kicked 901 goals for a total of 2,578 points and is a Life Member of the Football Club.
In 2009 Hazem became Rugby League's all-time leading point scorer when he kicked 7/7 in the blue-and-white's 34-12 win over Manly to reach 2,184 points. El Masri was swamped by team mates as fireworks filled the sky.
On June 30, 2009 Hazem announced his retirement and the Rugby League community embraced him. In his farewell home game against the Warriors at ANZ Stadium on August 30, El Masri was greeted by 41,835 fans as the blue-and-whites came away comfortable 40-20 winners.
The fairytale send off was not to be however for this Club great as the Bulldogs went down 12-22 in the Preliminary Final against Parramatta at ANZ Stadium in front of 74,549 fans.
Other Bulldogs records racked up by Hazem El Masri include:
* Most points in a first grade game: 34 (four tries, nine goals) v Wests Tigers - Round 2, 2006.
* Most tries in first grade: 159 - breaking Terry Lamb's previous record of 123.
* Most tries for the club: 194 - 71 more than Terry Lamb's 123.
* Most goals in first grade: 891 goals which broke Daryl Halligan's previous record of 630 goals.
* Most points in first grade: 2,418 points (159t, 891g).
* Most club points: 2,578 pts.
* Most club goals: 901 - breaking Daryl Halligan's previous record of 665.
* Most consecutive goals in first grade: 35 - set during Round 23, 2003 vs Manly.
* Most points in Rugby League history: 2,418 (159t, 891g)
Click here to read more about Hazem and other Bulldogs Greats!