THERE'S not much Jillaroos legend Steph Hancock doesn't like about fellow bookend Elsie Albert, but as far as road trip buddies go... she's had better.
"I wasn't as exciting as I though it was going be, she slept pretty much the whole way," Hancock said of their drive south from Brisbane to link with the Dragons.
The road trip may not have been the stuff of buddy-comedy legend, but the rest of the journey that's brought them together at St George Illawarra is certainly compelling.
They're largely a chalk and cheese pair - one is in the twilight of a nearly unmatched career, the other at the opposite end of hers, but also largely without rival.
Their paths converged in Brisbane, Hancock's club Souths Logan Magpies, where Albert shifted to pursue her ambitions in the game that is an actual religion back in her homeland. However, while the country of Papua New Guinea enjoys and enduring love affair with the game of rugby league, there was a time not too many people were keen on watching women play it.
They voted with their bottles - empty ones lobbed onto the field as the Orchids took the park in preparation for the 2017 World Cup.
"In 2017 when the Orchids played in the first World Cup it was the first time for a Papua New Guinean team at International level," Albert said.
"The first time the girls went onto the field to play there were men throwing empty bottles onto the field saying it's not a women's game. We overcame that and went into the World Cup but people on social media were still saying bad stuff to the girls."
It was a year later Orchids played home and away matches with the Broncos - an iconic brand in PNG - things started to shift. By the time the Orchids took on England by the end of last year, he tide had well and truly turned.
"The turning point was last year when we played England and we beat them," Albert said.
"From throwing bottles on the field, the men were all cheering for the ladies so it was pretty amazing to see rugby league changing that mindset and perspective."
The exhibitions against the Broncos were also where the bond with Hancock began, one that continued as they turned for the Magpies in Brisbane's Holcim Cup.
Albert turned some heads, but not a lot at NRLW level, prompting to Hancock to have a conversation with Dragons coach Daniel Lacey.
"Playing NRLW was one of my primary goals in coming to Australia so to achieve that goal is very exciting for me," Albert said.
"I was waiting for someone to call me and Steph asked me 'have you had any calls from anyone?' I said 'no'. She played a big role in bringing me here.
"I'm just excited I've got this opportunity to play with some of the best female athletes in the world and happy to get this opportunity to play."
Hancock's conversations with Lacey were fruitful on the personal front as well, prompting her to shift south of the border for the first time in her career. There's nothing left to prove, but the hunger remains.
"I had a conversation with the Broncos and obviously with Lace and I felt my opportunity to play football and the get minutes I was hoping to get would be at the Dragons," Hancock said.
"It was a massive change but I'm looking forward to the challenge. My problem is I just love football too much. I still love playing the game, it's same off the field, love the whole team side of things.
"I'm getting older but I'm enjoying football even more than I probably was back when I was 18-20. I'm still just loving footy."
The experience and resume means there's no doubting what Hancock will bring to the table against the Roosters on Saturday. What Albert does is a little more unknown, but Hancock's take might be an ominous one for their rivals.
"I think sometimes I've seen her play, being on the same paddock in club footy, I think she holds back a little bit because she's worried about hurting the opposition," Hancock said.
"I'm not speaking out of school, she's got the biggest heart, she's the softest most genuine person I think I've ever met. Even when you ask 'what do you want for brekky?' it's just 'oh whatever you're having'.
"She's the most humble person I've ever met, I'd just like her to not think too much about what's going on around her at the moment and just enjoy this experience."
As for when she returns home, you can expect fans to be popping champagne bottles more than throwing empty ones. The biggest thing for Albert though, it the little girls watching on.
"PNG people love rugby league and for me, a home-grown talent, to come all this way and play NRLW... I'll probably be treated like royalty," she said.
"It means a lot to me to be able to show that a PNG woman can excel in this sporting arena and show you just don't have to back down just because people say things to you. I've come a long way and to come from PNG over to here and set that example is great."
It's interesting though, for a journey that's been thus far so extraordinary, to hear how ordinary her plans are for when the whistle blows in Canberra on Saturday - though there is a slight tinge of menace about it.
"Nothing out of the ordinary, I'll just do the things I normally do, hard runs and hard tackles," she said.
"That's the only thing you should expect from me. Like Steph said I've been holding back, I've been ready for this opportunity and now I have the opportunity. I definitely want to make statement on Saturday."