New Lebanon coach Darren Maroun will see his men in action for the first time when the Cedars face Fiji, aiming to defend the Hayne-Mannah Cup, at the Remondis Stadium, Sydney, on 19 October 2014.
The clash will mark the start of their journey towards World Cup qualification in 2017 and the match has been sanctioned by the RLIF and will receive world rankings points.
LRLF CEO Remond Safi has landed in Australia from Beirut to oversee arrangements and assist Michael Hedwan, LRLF’s Sydney operations manager, in an effort to strengthen links between the considerable Lebanese-Australian rugby league community and the domestic game.
The opposing Bati will have on board Petero Civoniceva in his first stint coaching at senior level, where he will assist head coach Rick Stone.
Civoniceva said: “I am looking forward to working with Rick one last time. He has kindly offered to be the coach for this game before he starts his tenure at Newcastle Knights. He has been a tremendous influence on all our Fijian rugby league players over the last few years, from grassroots level to guiding us to last autumn’s Rugby League World Cup.”
“The Fijian Rugby League will use this game as an opportunity to thank him for all his hard work and dedication and wish him all the best as he starts his new appointment”.
Lebanon have lost Josh Mansour and Robbie Farah to the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII who travel to Papua New Guinea, while Tim Mannah is ruled out through duty of another kind – his honeymoon.
The Parramatta star has been a regular at the Lebanon training camps. “It’s really great to see how well the Lebanese Rugby League Federation has been developing the game there in tough conditions,” he noted. “It’s disappointing that I will be away for the Hayne-Mannah Cup, but will be looking forward to playing in the World Cup qualifiers.”
In a triple-header, the U16s kick off at 11am, and the U20s at 1pm and the Hayne-Mannah Cup 3pm,. Gates open at 930am.