Sibling rivalry will reach new heights when Mustangs centre Stephan Blair and Breakers fullback Owen Blair face off in Sunday’s Group Three Rugby League first grade grand final.
The two grew up playing touch footy in the front yard of their South West Rocks home, played alongside each other in their junior years and they even tasted premiership success together when they led the SWR Marlins to victory in 2015.
However, there will be no love lost when they do everything they can to lift their team on Sunday.
“Once we are on the field, we are the worst of enemies until that final whistle blows,” Stephan said.
Owen won’t be too concerned about getting one over on his little brother on the field but he won’t give up the opportunity to put a shot on if he gets the chance.
“We both have a job to do on Sunday and if we just focus on each other then we will let our team down,” Owen said.
“But don’t get me wrong, if Stephan runs my way then I will put extra effort and a bit more aggression into the tackle.”
Amelia Blair is the proud mother of Owen and Stephan and she will have the tough job of celebrating success with one of her sons while at the same time consoling the other.
“I won’t be barracking for either team, I will be cheering on both of my sons and at the end of the day I will have a winner and a runner-up so I am very proud of both of them,” Amelia said.
The brothers are vital pieces to their team’s success, with the two leading their respective sides in tries scored.
Stephan played a starring role in the Mustangs’ comeback victory over the Taree City Bullsin the preliminary final after he moved from wing to halfback to replace the injured Malcolm Webster.
He scored three tries, including the match winner, to put his side into the grand final.
The 19-year-old believes the Mustangs have a shot at upsetting the Breakers but the side will need to stick to what they do best.
“We need to turn up with the right attitude and play footy,” Stephan said.
“We are great in attack and if we are disciplined, keep the ball in our hands and put the pressure on the Breakers – we will have a shot.”
The Mustangs and Breakers have met three times this year, with the Breakers, who are undefeated for the season, earning the victories.
The Breakers secured a 46-24 win against the Mustangs in the grand final qualifier a fortnight ago, with early injuries to Macleay Valley restricting their impact off the bench.
Port City were able to take advantage of the tired Mustangs forwards but Owen is wary of the Mustangs’ ability to fight their way back into matches.
“We were leading 18-nil pretty early on and within about 10-minutes it was tied at 18,” Owen said.
“They have the ability to make something out of nothing and play an unpredictable style so we can’t take them lightly.”
The brothers expressed they will be there for one another after the match, regardless of the result.
“I will happily shake his hand and congratulate him if they win and I know he will do the same for me,” Stephan said.
“We are close brothers and he shook my hand and told me I played well after the three games we lost to them this year.”
Sunday’s first grade game will kick off at 3pm with the Mustangs’ U18.5s to face Wauchope Blues at 11.45am at Port Regional Stadium.