The word brotherhood is commonly used to describe the culture inside sport teams with a strong bond.
The Linwood Keas have taken a literal approach to their brotherhood this season. The premier squad features two sets of three brothers.
For Paul, Matthew and Erwin Sauni, Sunday’s final against the Hornby Panthers won’t be new – they’ve won the big prize together previously.
However, this year they are joined by Thoren, Jiordan and Domanyc Fidow-Kele. As if going for a premiership title with one set of three brothers wasn’t rare enough.
The Fidow-Keles come from a league and union background. Their father Tala Kele propped for Canterbury and Marist Albion in the 1980s and 1990s. They grew up playing for Marist before switching to league in their teens.
Thoren and Jiordan have played plenty of 13 and 15-man code games together, but it wasn’t until this year that 18-year-old Domanyc completed the trio.
“Growing up watching them play, I’ve always wanted to play alongside them. I finally got the opportunity this year, I was pretty proud to run out with them,” said Domanyc.
For the Saunis, there is also that feeling of pride with them now in their third season together at the Keas.
“It’s just a good feeling to make it here with my brothers. We grew up together and it’s good to still be together playing what we love,” said Matthew.
Both sets of brothers admit they aren’t afraid to call each other out when criticism is due. Perhaps it has even helped them to achieve what they have in the sport.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I’ve got to give credit to them for the way they raised me and roughed me up,” said Erwin.
The Fidow-Keles and Saunis say it’s not just their bond that has created the team’s family vibe. “This whole club itself is really family-orientated. A lot of the boys have their kids playing in the junior grade. I’m just glad to be a part of it,” said Jiordan.