Sibling rivalry to spur on the Garveys

Sunday afternoon's match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and Sydney Roosters will be a family affair of sorts with the Garvey siblings set to run out for their respective sides, albeit in different grades. 

While older brother Craig is starting to make a name for himself at NRL level with the Bulldogs, Grant Garvey has excelled week in week out for the Roosters in the Holden Cup. 

The 19-year-old has been one of the Tricolours' best in 2016, scoring eight tries – including five in his past three matches – and making nine line breaks out of dummy half. 

The Roosters co-captain is one of many players at the Bondi club with a family connection to rugby league. Latrell Mitchell and former Rooster Roger Tuivasa-Sheck have brothers at the club, while club legends Brett Mullins and Adrian Lam have sons playing for the Holden Cup side as well. 

Grant has already warned his older brother that the Bulldogs are likely to "get smashed" in first grade, but that threat won't stop Craig supporting him on Sunday.   

"I'll go out and watch him and see how he goes. He's playing pretty good footy and they've got big raps on him at the Roosters so I want to get out there and watch him as much as I can," Craig said. 

"He was playing up at Central Coast Stadium when I was playing NSW Cup the other week and he played pretty good and scored a good try. I'm proud of him and hopefully he gets a chance to go through the grades soon.

"He's a bit bigger than I am. He can play a lot of positions; he can play lock, five-eighth and he's a pretty good kicker out of dummy half. His best position is dummy half. It just seems whatever I do he tries to follow."

That was certainly the case during Indigenous Round when the Garvey brothers both celebrated tries with dances that paid homage to their Indigenous background. 

"I think my little brother did the same thing up on the Gold Coast last night when he scored in the under-20s. It's a proud heritage and something I was really happy to do," the Bulldogs rake said. 

"It wasn't something that I'd planned. I wasn't sure when I was going to get on and luckily I popped up and got the ball and then 'Sammy' (Bulldogs fullback Sam Perrett) kind of just came to me as soon as I scored the try to try to do something for Indigenous Round. 

"I'm proud of who I am and where I've come from."

Sunday's try was a special moment for Craig Garvey who has spent 2016 floating in and out of the Bulldogs first grade squad.

He started the year in NSW Cup but was immediately thrust into the hooking role for Round 2 after regular No.9 Michael Lichaa injured his knee in the opening game of the season.

Still relatively new at the club, Garvey admitted he had struggled with the side's attacking structures in his first two games against the Panthers and Eels, but let his defence do the talking with 64 and 45 tackles in the two-match stretch. 

Lichaa's return in Round 5 forced Garvey back to reserve grade for a month, but he has returned to play in two of the past three games for Canterbury and has been named on the bench to take on the Roosters this weekend. 

"It's a good opportunity I've got here and Des (Bulldogs coach Des Hasler) is really putting me in the team a lot so I'm happy I'm up in the 17 now at the moment," the 23-year-old said.

"Coming into the pre-season I didn't really know how the boys played and probably the first two rounds were a work in progress.

"Probably Round 4 against the Rabbitohs I got a real grip on things with the boys. I think the more we train together and the more I play with them, the better I'll get with the boys and build combinations with 'Grubby' (Josh Reynolds) and 'Mo' (Moses Mbye). 

"I feel pretty confident I'm getting better and better with the team. It's just about playing as much first grade as I can this year."

This article first appeared on NRL.com