In Round 12, when the Parramatta Eels clashed with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Blue & Gold brothers Dane and Noel Aukafolau hit the field together for the first time in their careers, running out for NYC Head Coach Luke Burt’s line up in their 28-26 defeat.
Dane, who is in his second season of the Under-20s system, has played a handful of games for the Wentworthville Magpies Intrust Super Premiership NSW side this year, but was named for the NYC side with the Magpies having a bye in Round 12.
In a bit of luck, two year younger brother Noel, who happens to usually play in the same position, was named in the other centre position after an injury provided Noel the opportunity to play alongside his brother in his third NYC appearance.
“It’s not the best situation for the brothers, but they’re very understanding boys and good fellas,” NYC Head Coach Luke Burt told Big League earlier this year.
“He’s [Dane] got a well-rounded game. Defensively he’s strong and he’s a big body as well. He’s got those long limbs that help. In attack he’s got a good, strong carry on him because of his size.”
“I think his frame for a centre is excellent, it’s what the modern outside back is starting to look like. He does have a lot of maturing to do – not just physically, but technically with the game as well.”
“He has improvement in him, which is a good thing.”
And whilst their connection occurred last week, it was short lived with Dane named in the Round 13 Wentworthville Magpies side and Noel in the NYC line up this week.
In 2017, Dane represented the Junior Kiwis side in their clash against the Junior Kangaroos side in the ANZAC Test.
Off the field, Dane is a teacher’s aide at the Westmead Children’s Hospital, helping high school students with their studies.
In 2017, Noel represented the Eels SG Ball side (Under 18s), playing in the victorious 2017 SG Ball Final side, before the side went on to claim the National Championships.
Dane and Noel's older brother Erick also played for the Eels NYC side in in 2015 before a leg injury ended his career prematurely.