The camaraderie between Raiders forwards Paul Vaughan and Shannon Boyd has gone to the next level after Country Origin camp last week.
Having spent every day of the past two weeks together in both the Country and the Raiders' camp up in Cairns in the lead-up to their victory over the Rabbitohs in Round 8, Vaughan and Boyd were buzzing they were able to achieve such accomplishments alongside one another.
While Boyd came into the Country squad as 18th man and didn't end up playing in the annual clash, Vaughan believes the experience the 22-year-old gathered was invaluable.
"He won't leave me alone. I can't get rid of him," Vaughan laughed, while discussing the two's friendship to NRL.com.
"Seriously, for Boydy [being in the camp was] unreal for him because he's really young and he's only in his second year of first grade, so to be in camp with him was unreal.
"We're pretty good mates, me and the big fella. We room together when we're away and we're always in each other's pockets. We were together for every day over the past two weeks and we were getting sick of one another. But it was definitely good to be with him here, I've been playing with him since I was 17.
"When we found out that we both made the team in Cairns, I told him after a couple of beers that I was definitely looking forward to spending the week with him because it's a great stepping stone for him as a player and it's really good to do it alongside him."
While things are blossoming between the pair off the field, Vaughan's recent on-field shift to the front row following Dane Tilse's departure has meant the duo have been propping up their friendship on the field with some great form for the Green Machine too.
Despite the likes of international quartet Josh Papalii, Josh Hodgson, Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Iosia Soliola remaining in the squad in a leadership capacity, Vaughan said he and Boyd realised they needed to start taking responsibility for the Raiders' form.
"We both now know we have to take the leadership that has come from this Country experience to Canberra which we're ready for," Vaughan said.
"Look at the size of the bloke and you can tell he can handle it, so it's a really good feeling being able to do that with one of your good mates."
Fellow Raiders and Country teammates Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton and Boyd are all proud of one another's achievements. Vaughan believes Canberra's solid form holds them all in good stead to keep on building, especially after their come-from-behind 30-22 wins over the Wests Tigers and Rabbitohs.
"Us boys playing in the City v Country game have been away for two weeks so it's been good to be able to get home, sleep in my own bed and get back with the missus again. So it'll be good to settle down, refocus and get back into the grind of things," Vaughan said.
"There's a really good feeling down in Canberra at the moment. We knew we weren't far off and to get back-to-back wins is really exciting. The best thing for the four of us to take from is the calibre of players we have trained with and to use that to better ourselves moving forward."