Norths forward Brendan Frei recently returned to Brisbane after a two-year stint with the Sydney Roosters and will this weekend face off against big brother and Souths Logan Magpie Mitch Frei in their XXXX Rivalry Round match.
It is a rugby league family, with Brendan's younger brother Jackson Frei signed with the NZ Warriors.
An off-season recruit for the Devils for the 2019 Intrust Super Cup, Brendan said coach Rohan Smith was a big reason behind his decision to join the club.
“Coming back to Brisbane in the off-season, I didn’t really have much of an idea where I was going,” Frei said.
“Everything was up in the air.
“We had a few offers, but I spoke to Rohan and we had a good chat.
“We spoke about life outside of footy and what are my goals on and off the field.
“For me it wasn’t just about footy, he (Rohan) looked after you off the field and made sure everything away from footy was sorted first.”
Frei played his junior footy for Albany Creek Crushers, before moving across to Norths Devils where he played Cyril Connell Cup and Nev Blair Shield.
After enjoying success in those competitions, he was approached by the Melbourne Storm.
“I was originally signed by Melbourne Storm by Paul Bunn who was previously at the Broncos,” Frei said.
“At the time, the three of us were with the Broncos on a development basis.
“Paul left to go to the Storm and gave me the offer to go down there.
“So, I decided to go down there for two years of my twenties.”
After spending two years with Storm playing in the Holden Cup, Frei was approached by Sydney Roosters.
“Jackson and Mitch were signed around the same time by the Roosters, and then I had the offer to come to Roosters,” the 22-year-old said.
“I thought it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
“I was excited to be with my Brothers."
Frei said that one of his many highlights from his time at the Sydney Roosters was being able to train alongside a former Queensland Maroons legend and fellow Norths Devil.
“It was awesome being a part of the Sydney Roosters 30-man-squad and seeing guys like Cooper Cronk who have played at the highest level and done everything in the game,” Frei said.
“You only have to see the way players like Cronk train to understand why they’re the players they are.
“His (Cronk) attention to detail, work ethic and intensity is second to none."
The Devils forward said it was inspirational to see Cronk play through the 2018 NRL grand final carrying an injury that has been described as usually being seen in car crash victims.
“It’s actually a funny story with Cooper – none of us honestly knew if he was actually going to play in the grand final," Frei said.
“I had people asking me non-stop, but honestly no one knew.
“It was actually until Captain's Run that he made the decision he was going to play.
“It was that late, it was just incredible, to see what he did with his injury, I wouldn’t ever want to have to be put in those same shoes.
“It was inspiring to see someone in that condition play in the grand final and play the way he did."
This weekend, Frei's Devils will go head-to-head with Souths Logan Magpies for XXXX Rivalry Round; a game that will hold some extra intrigue as it will also be the first-time Brendan and Mitch have played against each other in a game of footy.
“I’ve never actually played with or against him (Mitch) – so to be able to go up against Mitchell will be awesome," the roofer said.
“I obviously want get one up on him.
“It will be a great moment for myself and my family.
“He is a big body, so I don’t know if I will be able to run over the top of him – I think I might have to put a bit of footwork on him.”