The Federazione Italiana Rugby League (FIRL) is delighted to announce the appointment of Anthony Minichiello as Assistant Coach of the national team for this year's Rugby League World Cup.
Minichiello, a veteran of 302 NRL games for the Sydney Roosters, teams up with 2013 World Cup Azzuri team-mate and current Penrith Panthers' Assistant Coach, Cameron Ciraldo to lead Italy at the sport's pinnacle international event.
Speaking of his appointment, Minichiello said: "I was privileged to have been involved in the previous Rugby League World Cup as a player, so to now have the opportunity to be in the Italian coaching ranks is something I'm really excited about."
"I look forward to passing on my high performance knowledge to the wider group and having an influence over the team’s campaign at this year's World Cup."
Italian Head Coach Cameron Ciraldo welcomed Minichiello to the coaching ranks saying: "I was pleased with our performances during the European qualifiers but know greater tests await at the World Cup."
"Whilst we have a challenging pool, I also believe our squad has a good opportunity to progress to a possible quarter-final, and the Federation has assembled a coaching panel to support this ambition.
"Having the experience and insight of one of the NRL’s most respected players in 'Mini' will be invaluable as we look to make a statement at this year's tournament."
The FIRL has also confirmed the appointment of both Kelly Rolleston (Assistant Coach) and Alex Corvo (Strength and Conditioning Director) to the Azzuri's coaching staff for the Rugby League World Cup 2017 (RLWC2017).
2017 will be only the second time the Azzuri have qualified for the World Cup and FIRL President, Orazio D'arro, said the recruitment of such an esteemed coaching panel reflects the Federation's drive to compete at the RLWC2017 and demonstrates to Italian-based players, coaches and support staff there is an elite pathway available to them.
Italy, currently ranked 13 in the world, have been drawn in Pool D of this year's Rugby League World Cup and will play Ireland, USA and Fiji during the pool stages. The top 3 placed teams in Pools A and B plus top placed teams from Pools C and D will progress to the Quarter-Finals.
Italy vs Ireland, 29 October 2017, Barlow Park in Cairns
Italy vs USA, 5 November 2017, Townsville Stadium
Italy vs Fiji, 10 November 2017, Canberra Stadium