The Roar
The Roar


Turbo-charging their way to the top: Are the Trbojevic brothers the greatest ever set of rugby league siblings?

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21st March, 2024

The game of rugby league in Australia is littered with incredible sets of brothers that have performed superbly at the elite level.

Their participation provides a comforting family feel and plenty of copy for journos hunting for a feel good story. Familial connections work perfectly in a game that has its roots in the working class suburbs where families battled the realities of everyday life.

Manly’s Tom, Jake and Ben Trbojevic might be well on their way to being lauded as the best set of brothers the game has ever seen; with the former two already representative stars for NSW and Australia and Ben looming as a serious prospect in an exciting Sea Eagles team.

Should Ben follow in his brothers’ footsteps and crack the international scene, even in a moderate way, the charming young men from Mona Vale in Sydney’s northern beaches could well lay claim to being the best of the best when it comes to siblings playing and succeeding in the NRL.

Of course, the Sea Eagles have some ripper history in terms of brothers, with Brett and Glenn Stewart ending their careers as legends at the club and having achieved representative honours at the highest level. Together they played 418 games for the famous club.

Yet, given the choice of all the brotherly combinations that have graced league stadiums in Australia, who would you choose as the best to star in your team?

Perhaps the magnificent Morris twins, Brett and Josh Morris who tallied 606 career first-grade games across numerous clubs and left the stage as two of the most popular and well-loved players in the game?


Others would hitch their wagons on the Walters clan, Kerrod, Kevin and Steve, who played a collective 37 times for Australia internationally and won grand final after grand final for their respective clubs.

Personally, I’d hark back to the ’70 and ’80s and the mighty Bulldogs teams that featured the unique situation of two sets of three brothers sometimes making up almost half of the matchday 13.

Steve, Chris and Peter Mortimer were all back line stars in blue and white and the first two received much higher honours in the game. Three Hughes boys were around at the same time. Garry a scheming five-eighth, with Mark and Graeme in the pack.

A decent case could be mounted as to the value of the Johns brothers, Andrew and Matthew. Despite the latter being far less of a player, the bar is set mighty high by one of the most talented and freakish players to have ever stepped onto a field.

Andrew is an immortal and Matthew far from it, yet he also achieved higher honours in an esteemed 221 game club career.


But what of the Burgess boys? Sam, Tom, Luke and George became the first foursome of brothers to play in a match in more than 100 years when they shared the field back in 2013. Tom’s departure from South Sydney at the end of this season will end the families involvement at the club which stretches back to 2010.

Many a fan would go with the boys who were lured from the United Kingdon to help the Bunnies break their drought, which paid off in 2014.

Sam Burgess is embraced by Souths teammate Cody Walker

Few players have cast a bigger shadow on the NRL than Sam Burgess. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

I can hear a few down south waiting for the appearance of the Bromwich boys, Kenny and Jesse in this piece. The New Zealanders have 557 games at club level between for both the Storm and Dolphins, with an additional 48 Test caps for their country.

Norm and Peter Provan certainly deserve a mention, despite emanating from another time. The former playing in ten consecutive premiership wins with the Dragons and the latter, after tasting success with his brother went on to do the same at the Tigers as captain in 1969.

Norm was a legend in national colours, whilst Peter played just once for Australia and retired immediately the Tigers’ grand final success.

Norm Provan

There are few greater legends in rugby league than Norm Provan. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)


Perhaps the familial link could be stretched a tad to include father and sons? That would also bring legends like Ron Coote into the discussion, along with Ivan and Nathan Cleary, as well as the entire Hopoate clan who have brought so much interest to rugby league over the last 30 years!

No, probably best we stick with the bands of brothers.

The quality listed above is intimidating from a talent and legacy perspective, yet what the Trbojevic brothers are doing in the modern era is simply astonishing, with potentially more to come.

By the time they draw the curtains on the careers, they could arguably be the best set of brothers we have ever seen playing rugby league in Australia.