THEY played with and against each other during their formative years in North Queensland, and now Enari Tuala and Gehamat Shibasaki appear certain to reunite in Newcastle.
The Knights announced last month that they had signed utility back Tuala from the Cowboys, and they are expected to confirm within days that Shibasaki will be joining them on a three-year deal, once his release from the Broncos is finalised.
Shibasaki, 21, has appeared in 13 NRL games as a centre, wing and interchange substitute. He is yet to score a top-grade try but his potential has already been recognised by no less a judge than Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga.
Meninga named both Shibasaki and Tuala as shadow players last year for the Prime Minister's XIII for the annual clash with Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.
At the time, Shibasaki had played in only one NRL game and Tuala had made 11 appearances.
Both also represented the Junior Kangaroos in 2018.
Shibasaki started to feature regularly in Brisbane's backline over the second half of last season, after the release of enigmatic James Roberts to join South Sydney.
He earned kudos in round 10 when, in only his fourth first-grade game, he marked Roosters superstar Latrell Mitchell and played a key role in Brisbane's 15-10 boilover against the defending premiers.
He was contracted to Brisbane until the end of 2020 but it is understood the Broncos were happy to release him to accommodate new signing Brodie Croft from Melbourne.
Shibasaki and Tuala will be competing for spots in what is likely to be a new-look right edge for the Knights next season.
The departures of Jesse Ramien to Cronulla and Shaun Kenny-Dowall mean there are two vacant positions to be filled.
Edrick Lee and rookie Bradman Best are tipped to be Newcastle's left-side pairing, leaving Shibasaki and Tuala to battle it out with experienced Hymel Hunt and Tautau Moga for spots on the opposite flank.
Shibasaki, who was reportedly paid $140,000 by Brisbane last season, is understood to have accepted Newcastle's offer and all that remains is for both clubs to formalise the paperwork.
Likewise, Newcastle's 2019 player of the year, back-rower Mitchell Barnett, has agreed to terms and is poised to sign a three-season extension.
Meanwhile, former Knights playmaker Brock Lamb is reportedly close to signing with Parramatta.
After 32 games for Newcastle, Lamb left at the end of 2018 to link with the Roosters.
But he featured only once in their top team before seeking a mid-season release to join former Knights teammate Luke Yates at London Broncos.
London were relegated from Super League at the end of last season.
Yates has since signed with Super League runners-up Salford, while Lamb is tipped to provide back-up for Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown at the Eels.