When Sydney Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello leads his team onto Allianz Stadium tonight he will write himself and brother Mark into the record books.
Anthony, who is retiring after his last match – which could be tonight with the Roosters thrown into sudden death after their last-gasp loss to the Panthers - will run out for the 301st time for the Roosters, equalling the club record owned by his good mate Luke Ricketson.
Mark, the iSelect Titans foundation back-rower who is soon off to England for a two-season stint with Hull, finished his NRL career on 259 matches, including 173 which is the Titans' club record.
Combined, they will tonight past the all-time record of 559 played by any two brothers in the ARL/NRL competition, which is held by Kevin (287) and Steve Walters (272).
It is a significant honour which league’s most famous Italian family is very proud of.
“I was quite surprised this week when told we would set the record, I knew we were close when told about it when I played my 250th game but I didn’t know if we’d get there,” said Mark.
“You think back to when we were running around our property at Prestons (near Liverpool in Sydney) kicking the ball around and hoping to play in the NRL one day and you never expect we might have that sort of combined careers.
“I don’t think any other player could have come back from the back injury Anthony had to overcome, so that makes the achievement even bigger.
“I hope he wins tonight and adds another couple of games to the family tally!”
One regret is that the brothers only played one NRL match together, Mark’s debut for the Roosters in 2002 against Penrith. The next season he left for South Sydney where he spent four seasons before joining the Titans for their first season in 2007.
“But that’s just how it went; we’re both proud of what the other has achieved,” Mark said.
Their only other matches together were twice for City Origin and for Italy in last year’s World Cup.
There most intriguing match played against each other was the preliminary final of 2010 when the Roosters went on to make the grand final (Anthony’s fifth of six) and the Titans missed out, meaning Mark was never able to emulate his older brother by making it to the final match of the season … in Australia anyway.
The top aggregate by two brothers in the game’s 107 seasons is (after tonight’s semi-final):
Mark (259) and Anthony (301) Minichiello 560 games
Kevin (287) and Steve (272) Walters 559 games
Steve (272) and Chris (250) Mortimer 522 games
When it comes to games played by all brothers, the Walters boys still hold the crown. If you add Kevin’s twin Kerrod to the mix they have 782 ahead of the four Mortimers – Steve, Chris, Peter (father of Titans’ Daniel) and Glenn with 741.