From the Morrises to the Johnses, sibling rivalries are not uncommon in the world of Rugby League – now a new one is brewing in the UNE Harold Matthews Cup.
The Chan Kum Tong brothers, Gordon and Johnathan, will be looking to create a own legacy of their own in coming years, but not before they attempt to dominate the under-16 competition. To make matters more interesting, they’ll be doing it for separate clubs.
Having both grown up in the hooker position, Gordon and Johnathan both wear the No.9 jersey for their respective clubs: Gordon for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and Johnathan for the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The humble Rabbitohs rake was quick to point out who has the edge in the sibling rivalry.
“I’d say he’s better,” Johnathan Chan Kum Tong tells NSWRL.com.au.
“I tell everyone I am, but really I’m not. It’s definitely him.”
The brothers are yet to play against each other in 2018 – and are not scheduled to line-up opposite each other unless they meet in the finals.
Johnathan is still hoping he can take on Gordon in the hope of claiming bragging rights after year’s “smashing” in backyard football.
“We always tried to verse each other, every day in the backyard,” he recalls. “We were always running against each other.
“[If we do verse each other] I’ll just go at it and give it my all and see if I can smash him.”
While both players will be lining up for different clubs this season, they still hope to one day play with or against each other at the top level.
“Our goal is to play against each other, or if not, play with each other in the NRL and see if we can come together,” Jonathan says.
While Gordon agrees, he admits his aspirations to play first grade won’t come without hard work and commitment.
“My dream is to give 100% effort and give back to my family,” Gordon says. “Maybe one day [I’ll play first grade].”
Gordon, who first played for the Bankstown Bulls before heading to the Maroubra Lions to play alongside his brother, has enjoyed the change of scenery. After both players crossed in Round 1 of the competition, Gordon notched up a double in Saturday’s 40-0 thrashing of the Central Coast Roosters.
“It’s been good,” Gordon adds. “Pre-season was hard, but it just brought the culture together because we put in the hard work.
“Our expectations can go very high, as a team and for myself, but if we put in the hard work together can go very far in the competition.”
The Sea Eagles will face the Illawarra Steelers at Collegians Sporting Complex, Figtree in Round 5, while the Rabbitohs will host the Bears at Redfern Oval. Manly Warringah will kick off from 12pm on Saturday, while South Sydney’s match will begin at 10.30am on Sunday.