Sipley flying the flag for big bro
When Toafofoa Sipley runs out onto Mt Smart Stadium this Sunday, he will be carrying two sets of dreams with him through every hit-up and tackle.
The 21-year-old prop will make his second NRL Telstra Premiership appearance, getting another shot at a dream which he and older brother, Patrick, have shared ever since they can remember.
But while Toafofoa has transitioned smoothly through the Holden Cup and reserve grade ranks to become part of coach Andrew McFadden's plans for the top side, the journey hasn't gone to plan so far for Patrick, who is three years the senior.
After several years in the Warriors' system, Patrick now finds himself down the pecking order in the club's reserve team – this week being named as 18th man – and in 2016 has spent three weeks down playing with Auckland club champions Pt Chevalier.
"My brother is pretty happy [for me], it's good because he really pushes me a lot," Toafofoa told media ahead of the clash with the Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium.
"He keeps me honest and it's always been a goal for us to play together.
"We will wait for his time, but for now I will just focus on myself and go out there and try and play a good game against the Roosters this week.
"We do a lot together… we do a lot of recovery together and go to the pools. I like to watch his games down at club footy and give him feedback, and he tells me what I have got to do for here [the Warriors]."
After playing a modest 11 minutes off the bench against the Dragons in Round 9, Sipley said he was excited by the impending challenge of facing off against international-tested Roosters props Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sam Moa.
The 2015 Junior Warriors captain is coming off a full knee reconstruction last year and this week gets the call up in the place of Jacob Lillyman, who has been selected to play for Queensland in Origin II.
"It's a big challenge [this week], especially for a youngster, so I am really looking forward to the challenge," Sipley said.
"He [Waerea-Hargreaves] will be a big unit, but at the end of the day I have just been told he has got two feet and I have got two feet, and it comes down to who uses them best.
"I would have been content with just playing one game [this year], I have come off a big injury so it kind of made me miss the game so much that I would happy wherever I came back to play, even if it was [Auckland] club footy."
Meanwhile fellow bookend Sam Lisone said he would be relishing the opportunity to run out with his former under-20s teammate, after missing his debut match earlier in the year.
"I'm excited to play with 'Tof' this week and happy I get to because I wasn't there for the first one," Lisone told NRL.com.
"We were both starting props for the junior side in 2014 and we also played with Albert Vete in 2013, so it's pretty buzzy to see all three of us come up through the ranks.
"Only a small number of Holden Cup players make it in the first place, especially in the front row, so it's good that the club has kept us and that this week we get to go out there together for the first time and prove ourselves."