It’s a cold, wet Friday night back in April 2011, and there’s next to no one in the crowd at ANZ Stadium.
There’s not too many watching on television either, they’re all too busy watching Prince William wed Catherine Middleton in a huge slice of history.
But 17,000 kilometres away from Westminster Abbey, there’s a different type of history being made.
Greg Inglis bursts through Cronulla’s shabby right hand defence, a rare show of form in his first year at South Sydney. Inglis begins to stride down the field, outpacing the defenders he left in his wake, draws the fullback before he floats a pass left to his winger, an 18 year-old kid that only made his NRL debut seven days prior.
A young winger by the name of James Roberts.
Roberts easily streaked away, showing off his trademark pace for one of the very first times in the NRL, to score his maiden try in the top grade.
But that combination wasn’t the first time these two Indigenous All Stars’ paths had crossed.
Inglis and Roberts were more than just team mates. They’re cousins, both born in Kempsey in northern New South Wales, growing up side by side as two lanky streaks of lightning, six years apart in age but both destined for greatness on rugby league’s greatest stage.
Since that cold April night in 2011, Roberts has battled controversy, sacked from two clubs and walked out on another, but next Wednesday night, Roberts leaves that behind in the ultimate redemption story.
It’s been seven years, 115 games, 65 tries and four clubs since Roberts scored his maiden four-pointer in the NRL, but all of his highs and lows along the way have led to the centre’s New South Wales debut - and he’s marking his cousin, the Queensland captain.
In a one-on-one duel sure to light up the MCG, it’s a battle of the feel good stories. The redeemed Roberts, who was sacked by South Sydney and Penrith, walked away from the Gold Coast Titans, marking Greg Inglis, Queensland’s new captain, set to return to the Origin arena after spending twelve months out of the game.
Inglis’ return to form has been one of 2018’s greatest stories, having not only returned from a knee reconstruction, but also returning following a bout of mental health issues that saw the South Sydney captain nearly walk away from the game.
Will Roberts' speed trouble GI out wide, or will Inglis’ 30 games of experience see him edge out his cousin in his Blues debut?
This clash - GI versus Jimmy the Jet, it’s more than just a battle. It’s family rivalry.