They've looked the package deal from the day they were born, but people would be surprised to learn of the different paths Toby and Ryan Couchman have walked to NRL debuts.
Toby made his maiden NRL appearance back in round two, with Ryan to play alongside his twin for the first time this weekend after making his debut in last week's loss to the Eels.
It's a remarkable rise given Ryan was overlooked for selection in the Steelers SG Ball squad as recently as 2021. While Toby did get the call-up, Ryan was forced to look elsewhere for rep footy.
He ended up plying his trade for the Illawarra South Coast Dragons in the Country Championships that season under current Collegians first grade coach Peter Hooper.
While he certainly wasn't the stone-kicking type, Hooper could tell the wiry blonde workhorse was on a mission.
"He was the fittest in the joint," Hooper said.
"We did the yoyo (fitness) test and he won ours, but they run all the testing thought the NSW Rugby League and he was top three in state. As a front-rower.
"When the kids come back and they're disappointed, I always make a point of [saying]] you've to prove them wrong and he come back in the best shape he possibly could.
"I made him captain the side because he was just a born leader. There's different types of leaders, there's actions and words and Ryan was more of an action man.
"Whether the disappointment from the Steelers had driven him, Ryan and Toby are both pretty driven kids anyway. I just knew I had a really good athlete that was really dedicated to his footy team."
It was far from an easy season on the team front, but Hooper says Couchman was the glue en route to selection in the Australian Schoolboys side at the end of the year.
"He drove the standards, and there's not many kids around that drive standards," Hooper said.
"I have no idea in my head who the captain's going to be until you get them in a group environment, and he certainly was a leader in every aspect of that campaign.
"The Steelers had probably 14 kids a year young that year so we only picked squad of 18 and early on we 12 or 13 at training because you get kids with injuries, with school or work commitments.
"It was pretty disjointed, but Ryan was the constant. No matter what situation he was in, you knew what you were going to get, he was going to compete for all 70 minutes in that environment."
In the end, the knock-back helped build a mentality that's seen him go from Illawarra castoff to NRL debut in the space of two years.
"I was 18 the year I didn't make the SG Ball side which was disappointing," Couchman said.
"I've worked really hard, even before that I had, but those setbacks there did spark a bit of a fire in me. I ended up making the Aussie [Schoolboys] side and, fast forward a year and a half later it's happened pretty quick since then.
"It was obviously disappointing we didn't get the result [last week] but it was an unreal week for myself and my family. I can't really put into words how much it meant to me.
"When I was out there, it honestly didn't feel real. It probably took five or 10 minutes for it to sink in that I was actually playing an NRL game for the Dragons."
When Toby debuted back in round two, many thought it'd be a matter of weeks before Ryan joined him, but the door was closing on 2023 before he got his first call-up last week.
It's not the first time one has had to bide their time, with Toby undergoing shoulder surgery that ended that 2021 campaign with the Steelers, while Ryan also went under the knife over the off-season with a bung shoulder of his own.
It'll make their first outing alongside each other at NRL level all the more special.
"We both had a couple of setbacks and injuries at different times along the way, he's made a side and I haven't and vice versa," Couchman said.
"It hasn't all been all together. It was really exciting to see Tobes get a debut pretty early on, it was only round two. For me, my focus was just trying to play the best I could week in week out for [NSW] Cup, or wherever it was.
"I knew that, if my opportunity came, I'd be ready to take it. That's just where my focus was each week, just trying to play good footy and contribute to the side.
"I think ever since we could pick up a footy we've been in the backyard playing footy together, we started off in under sixes and went all the way through.
"To play NRL alongside him, it'll mean everything to me, him and the whole family as well."
The Thirroul Butchers' products will make some fresh history against the Rabbitohs on Saturday when they take the park alongside Mat and Max Feagai, the first time two sets of twins - all Steelers products - have played for one team in an NRL match.
It shapes as a bittersweet moment for the Feagais, with Max told this week by incoming coach Shane Flanagan that he's not in the club's plans beyond this season.
It could make Saturday's clash the last time he and Mat play together at NRL level amid Flanagan's roster overhaul, but Couchman is confident he and Toby aren't facing the same fate despite being yet to speak with the coach-in-waiting.
"He's spoken to our manager not long ago and we're not going to be going anywhere," Couchman said.
"It's all positive from the chat. I haven't spoken to Flanno yet, but I'm excited to have him here and to work with him."
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