Mini ups ante in sibling rivalry - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mini ups ante in sibling rivalry

By Laine Clark 19/08/2010 03:14:24 PM Comments (0)

Not since their backyard footy days has the rivalry between the NRL's Minichiello brothers been so fierce.

Which is saying something - Gold Coast second rower Mark Minichiello admits "everything" became a competition when he was growing up with Sydney Roosters fullback and big brother Anthony in Sydney's west.

But Mark reckons the stage is set for the sibling rivalry to go up a notch when Anthony's Chooks host his Titans at the SFS on Monday night.

Certainly Mark Minichiello has done his bit, cheekily claiming the Roosters No.1 was not back to his best despite a stirring comeback from "horrific" back injuries.

And while Mark can't hide his admiration for the way Anthony overcame chronic back complaints, it won't stop him testing out his brother's fitness on Monday night.

"There is always a little bit (rivalry). I don't go looking for him unless he comes my way, then I try to give it to him - I would probably go over the top (of him)," Mark Minichiello laughed.

Asked about Anthony's form, baby brother said: "He's dangerous, but I wouldn't say he is back to his best form."

Before adding: "He has had some horrific injuries with his back, but he is playing terrific footy.

"I think he has got plenty of years left in him. I think the injury has prolonged his career.

"I am not sure if it (representative football) is a goal of his - he's achieved everything in the game.

"I think he is just happy playing rugby league. If you knew the extent of his injuries, probably most players wouldn't be playing again.

"I think he has done exceptionally well to get back and play as well as he is."

But that's where the love-in ended.

Gold Coast's `Mini' claimed the Titans wanted to use the Roosters as a stepping stone to an NRL home final, before they go up "a couple of gears".

For once the two teams meet in what can legitimately be called a heavyweight clash - second-placed Titans tackle the fifth-placed Roosters with a top four place up for grabs.

Last year's wooden spooners, the Roosters have missed the finals in four of the past five seasons but appear to have regrouped under coach Brian Smith despite a last round hiccup against the Sharks.

"It (loss) is probably a good thing for them to get that little shake up (before the finals) but hopefully we can overcome that," said Minichiello junior of the Roosters.

"They are going well but so are we.

"We have been playing for each other, and come semi-finals time everything lifts again - we have definitely got a couple of gears to go.

"I am looking forward to seeing how good we can get."

While Mark looks forward to getting bragging rights over Anthony in front of their family - the truth is their relatives will "wear neutral colours" - and not all of them will be there.

Mark's new-born son Luca has only just come home with mum Milena and will remain on the tourist strip with his grandparents.

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