Jayden Brailey remembers all the front yard footy as a kid like it was yesterday.
He and younger brother Blayke would go at it, hour after hour, day after day, during the league season. And if they weren't going after each other, they would team up and take on dad Glenn.
"Yeah, that was always the go-to for us - getting stuck into dad in the living room," Brailey says.
"Blayke and I were really close growing up. Still are. He is two years younger but we were both pretty active and diehards when it came to rugby league, ever since we were five or six-years-old.
"If it wasn't me against him, it was us against dad in the living room and Taj [youngest brother] joined in when he was old enough."
Typical footy mad kids you might say. But this yarn is anything but typical because here we are, several years later, and Brailey and brother Blayke are both playing in the NRL. Both playing hooker too and tomorrow night at McDonald Jones Stadium, line up against each other for the first time since those front yard days.
"Yeah, it's pretty crazy both of us playing NRL" the Knights captain says. "Getting to play with Blayke at the Sharks a couple of years ago was pretty amazing. But now we are going up against each other. I'm excited and he'd be the same and it's massive for the family."
Not surprisingly, the extended Brailey family will be out in force at the game. Around 15 of them, including mum and dad, Carla and Glenn, brother Taj, both sets of grandparents, an aunty and uncle and Brayley's girlfriend Lil Brogan's sisters will be among those coming up for the game.
"They are actually renting this huge airbnb house around the corner from my place at Merewether for the weekend," Brailey said. "A few of the mates are coming up too so it's going to be a big occasion."
So who will they be supporting come game time?
"Well, I've got them the tickets and they'll be sitting in the Knights section so hopefully the Knights," he said. "I'm thinking they should be wearing Knights jerseys but they'll probably go with something neutral. One of us is going to be happy, the other sad so they are going to have to juggle that."
As usual, Brailey and his brother have already spoken on the phone this week but unlike what is normally the case, there was no advice or insights given either way.
"We didn't talk footy much at all to be honest," Brailey said. "I asked him what he's seen in video [of us] and he obviously gave me nothing. It was just friendly banter."
But will it be friendly banter on the field?
"I don't really know to be honest," he said. "Blayke might come out with something at some stage or maybe I'll get in first. He hasn't got much rubbish in him but who knows, he might come out and blindside me.
"For me though, despite the fact it's the old club and I'm up against my brother, the bottom line is getting the win. That's really all that matters to me. Coming off the last few weeks, it doesn't matter who is out there on the field, we really need a win this weekend.
"We have to turn things around and that's where my head's at. I really just want this win for the boys, the club and the town."
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