Brothers in red

While rugby often builds 'brotherhood' amongst teams, Marist St Pats has a long tradition of blood brothers playing for the club and 2024 is no exception. While there are others, including the Fepuleai's and Misa-Paese's, we caught up with a few of the sets of siblings to hear what they love about playing with their brothers.

Grayson and Keelan Whitman

After winning a Jubilee Cup with Oriental-Rongotai last season Grayson felt the pull to return to Marist St Pats after beginning his Premier rugby career at the club in 2018; he links up with his younger brother Keelan in the Premier side in 2024.

The St Patrick's College Old Boys are loving being back on the same side - and being able to have their family all on the same sideline supporting them. The best part about playing in the same team? 'Creating new moments and experiences to share, adding to the ones we made growing up as kids'.

The Whitman family is well represented at Marist St Pats, with dad Sonny coaching with the Colts in recent years and is now the backs coach for our Premier Reserves.

Rhueben, Gabriel and Ethan Meredith

The Meredith family is well known in both the Senior and Junior Club's but it must have been extra special for Luke and Claire to see three of their four son's take the field for the Premier Reserves against Tawa recently. With Gabriel and Rhueben then also making their Premier debuts against Tawa and Wainuiomata respectively.

These moments were not lost on Rhueben, 'as juniors we all played in separate age grades for Marist but now we can all play in the same team. We've got our dad helping to manage the team too, so this makes 2024 a special season for us.'

Gabe echoed his brother, 'this is the first time we have ever been able to play together as brothers. We have all won trophies in this club but never together - this year is special. Knowing you have family on the field makes you work twice as hard and gives you security that no matter what, blood is righy next to you and has your back. The power of trust in a team is key to success and who better to trust than your own family. This year is special and we as a family are proud to show you how.'

Iosefo and Sagele Aukusitino

The Aukusitino brothers have yet to share the field this year, owing to an injury Sagele sustained in preseason, but the brothers are itching to get back on the field together after Sagele spending the last few years with the Manly Sea Eagles and New Zealand Warriors rugby league clubs.

Similar to the Whitmans, building on childhood memories is a big appeal for the Aukusitino's but also a sense of opportunity to build their connections with the brothers last playing together in 2020.

'We've been through lots of obstacles in the past and having to step away from the game. Coming back to develop and play side-by-side with my brother at Marist St Pats is the most rewarding thing. We're finally sharing the same field with the same love for the game which will create unforgettable memories with MSP. Can't wait to run out there again with my uso.'

With both brothers now sidelined by injury, we're looking forward to seeing the dynamic duo back on the field hopefully sometime in May.

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