Sydney Roosters centre Joey Manu hadn’t seen his parents for 15 months.
The wait for Brisbane second-rower Jordan Riki had been even longer.
The NRL stars were among thousands of Australians and New Zealanders to share emotional re-unions with their families after the opening of the trans-Tasman travel bubble on Monday.
Manu picked up his mother Darnel and father Nooroa from Sydney airport on Monday night and took them for dinner at a Lebanese restaurant in nearby Kogarah.
The Kiwi international is looking forward to enjoying some of his mum’s cooking and spending time with his parents ahead of Sunday’s Anzac Day match against St George Illawarra at the SCG.
"It’s been 15 months since I have seen them and I got to see them last night. I went out for dinner with them," Manu said.
"I was really happy and they were stoked to be here. They are going to stay here for a couple of weeks and watch some games."
Darnel hasn’t seen Manu play since the 2019 grand final defeat of Canberra, while Nooroa attended last season’s opening match against Penrith before having to return home when the New Zealand border closed on March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The border between Australia and New Zealand was only re-opened without quarantine restrictions on Monday and Manu's parents were among the first Kiwis to arrive in Sydney.
"It is lucky that it has just opened up before Anzac Day so they can come and watch this game," Manu said. "It is one of the best games of the season so they are looking forward to it.
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"My dad came over last year before COVID and then he went home but my mum hasn’t been over since the year before. She came over for the grand final."
Riki also hadn’t seen his family since 2019 and was emotional when reunited with his mother Janelle, who he described as “No.1 in my life”.
Janelle and Riki’s father Ra missed his NRL debut against Canberra last August, Christmas and his 21st birthday in January.
They booked the first flight from Christchurch to Brisbane when details of the trans-Tasman travel bubble were announced and plan to stay for two weeks.
"I'm a massive Mama's boy," Riki told Newshub. "I love my mum - she's my No.1 rock in my life."
An earlier version incorrectly identified Joseph Manu's parents, this has been corrected and NRL.com apologises for the error