THE bond between Griffith and the Italian national rugby league side has been further strengthened in the aftermath of the team's visit to the city last weekend.
That is the opinion of local officials who said the exercise was a positive one, not just for the promotion of the area in the short term, but also looking forward to the World Cup in England and Wales in 2013.
Spending four days in Griffith, the Azzurri, armed with a host of NRL eligible stars, capped off their visit with a trial against the strong Bundaberg Cup representative side.
However, it was their work off the field that was at this stage more crucial according to Sam Panarello, who was instrumental in bringing both sides to the region.
"Tourism-wise and, public relations-wise it was all positive out of last weekend, and we managed to get some people and businesses that have put their hand up to help out with the sponsorship of the Italian side," Panarello said.
"But we're looking at getting a committee together and going from there, so people don't need to have their money up front tomorrow, we're probably looking at a June cut-off next year.
"The winner was Griffith at the end of the day, there's about 70 blokes between both camps that have never been to Griffith or seen the place and experienced the lifestyle and hospitality.
"So they've all gone away loving their time down here and we've made some great contacts, and we'd like the Bundy side to come back down here again."
While the young Italian side were no match for their opponents on the field, former Sydney Roosters player Simon Bonetti showed that despite not playing for years, he still was capable of shaping the course of the game.
"It was a trial and there's a lot of NRL players to go into that side, but I'm a realist and to make these sponsorships from down here work, we need to have a player in the side," Panarello said.
"So Simon still needs to decide if he's going to go overseas, and on my behalf, the sell would be easier if he's in the side.
"He was close to the best Italian player on the weekend, so to be out of the game for eight years playing soccer and to go out and play the way he did, there's no doubt he can still play.
"I'm not saying his body is going to last a full season of NRL play, but he'd have to play some sort of football before it, and then to go over there (World Cup) and play four or five games, he should hold up."
Panarello also hinted at the possibility of having a Newtown and Cabramatta trial game before the next Group 20 season.