THERE may be 16,000 kilometres of physical distance between them, but Lake Macquarie and Malta have now become a little closer in the rugby league world.
With the Maltese national squad in danger of missing next month's fourth-tier European Championships, a Lake Macquarie business has become the major sponsor.
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Lake Macquarie Forklift Services will be front and centre of Malta's jersey during October when the Knights play Tests against the Czech Republic as well as either hosts Turkey or the Netherlands.
Described as a "rugby league tragic" with "proud Maltese heritage", Rick Farrugia is the man behind the move having been first to answer a recent call to arms to help fund the campaign.
"I've told Rick to get over to Malta so that we can organise a match in his presence as a show of thanks," Malta Rugby League spokesperson Anthony Micallef released in a statement.
Farraugia, long-time associate of the Dora Creek Swampies and a Newcastle Knights fan, says the upcoming games acts as a "stepping stone" towards qualification for the World Cup in 2025.
"It's an honour to sponsor the Malta Rugby League. My family and I are proud of our Maltese heritage and equally proud supporters of rugby league," he said.
"We've been involved with rugby league through Dora Creek Swampies for the last 21 years.
"The Maltese team's campaign this October is a stepping stone towards the 2025 World Cup. To be involved with something so big from our family business is quite special."
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