Old Saints mates back together again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Old Saints mates back together again

By Steve Jancetic and Ian McCullough 26/09/2010 06:16:48 PM Comments (0)

A year ago they were anonymous sipping coffees on the streets of Paris, now Mark Gasnier and Jason Ryles will come together again before 80,000 fans looking to deny each other an NRL dream they once shared.

Gasnier and Ryles spent nine years together wearing the red V of St George Illawarra before going their separate ways at the end of the 2008 season.

Those two roads came together again in France as Gasnier attempted to carve out a rugby union career while Ryles settled into a post-NRL life with Catalans Dragons.

Homesick, the good mates again went their own ways - only to find themselves on opposite ends of ANZ Stadium in Sunday's NRL grand final when Gasnier's Dragons take on Ryles' Sydney Roosters.

"It's amazing - we were both sitting this time last year in France both thinking we probably wouldn't be in this situation - both hoping probably - but not thinking it was a realistic chance," Gasnier said.

"I think we'll both enjoy the week ... unfortunately one of us is going to be sad and one of us is going to be happy."

For Ryles Sunday's meeting is all the more momentous given the years of failed trips to the finals he experienced with the Dragons.

He has admitted the pressure of expectation from the Roosters faithful is nowhere near the desperation he felt from Dragons supporters, but there is no doubting victory lap before the fans who once praised him and booed him in the same breath would be satisfying.

"I have actually thought about it quite a lot and it will be strange," Ryles said.

"Obviously I have a long connection with the Dragons and have a lot of close friends there.

"But it doesn't worry me having to face them, it won't be the first time I have played them, I have a job to do and can't get caught up worrying about it.

"They have beaten us twice this year, but they were tight games and we know what to expect, but I like to think they will be wary of us as we are playing very well."

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