Pritchard brothers proud to link for Eels

There is an 11-year age gap, but for Frank and Kaysa Pritchard, the opportunity to play alongside each other for the first time is a dream come true after both players were named in Parramatta's top 17 to take on Manly at Lottoland on Sunday.

The pair will join eight other sets of brothers across all teams in Round 1 of the Telstra Premiership, and will come up against young-gun siblings Tom and Jake Trbojevic in the Sea Eagles line-up.

For older brother Frank, a 248-game veteran in the NRL, the opportunity to return home a year early from a deal with Hull FC in the English Super League and join Kaysa at the Eels was something he couldn't turn down.

"These things don't come around often and especially in the family environment so it's going to be good," Frank told NRL.com.

"There was backyard footy with all our brothers… he [Kaysa] was a young fella growing up and would come to my games at Penrith.

"Now my brother has got a great opportunity to cement a spot in this team." 

The decision to depart the UK, where the former Bulldog scored five tries in 24 appearances for Hull, happened quickly and during the off-season back home in Australia.

"It was something that just happened and it wasn’t planned," he said.

"I came back for a holiday [from England] and I was staying with my brother at his house and it just went from a break to a long stay… the rest is history.

"Everything happens for a reason and I believe that we can both do something special this year with our family on the sideline watching in the same colours. 

"My parents don't show too much emotion but deep down they're happy and I'm sure we will see it on Sunday."‌ 

With plenty of experience under his belt, the 33-year-old hopes to bring leadership qualities to a squad filled with youth across the park and help deliver results for the Eels faithful this year.

"There's a lot of leaders in the team and I don't have to do too much," Frank said.

"It's what I do off the field and away from here is the biggest asset for myself and the other boys.

"I'm just enjoying being back and with the boys, everything has been smooth."

In and out of the side and plagued by serious pectoral injuries, Kaysa Pritchard has only managed 23 games during his four-year stay in the blue and gold since debuting against the Cowboys back in 2013.

With the departure of hooker Nathan Peats to the Titans last season, the Cabramatta junior now finds himself in the starting No.9 jersey for the first time in his career and the 22-year-old believes he has matured enough over the pre-season to handle the position.

"I've tried to be more calm and relaxed as a player, instead of trying to run around and do everything on the field," Kaysa said.

"All the talk around the ball and getting the forwards onto the front foot more consistently is something I've worked on. I'm confident I can get through the full 80 but we will just wait and see.

"It's been good to have him [Frank] here and get the chance to play alongside him. His leadership is something I look up to, not only as a brother, but also as a teammate now.

"We both just can't wait to run out on Sunday."

This article originally appeared on NRL.com