KIERAN Foran thinks he and his brother, Liam, may have discussed it for the first when they were eight or nine.
"That's all we ever wanted to do, play in the NRL, but we had this other thing to play together," Kieran said.
Kieran, left, and Liam Foran, who will play together in an NRL match for the first time Brookvale tomorrow Source: Supplied
"We were inspired by other brothers. We used to love watching Henry and Robbie Paul play with the Kiwis as halves, and watching Matty (Johns) and Joey (Andrew Johns).
"We always thought we would grow up and be like them. It's funny. My career went one way and Liam's went the other way.
"It's probably a credit to him that he's managed to fight his way back into contention and keep the dream alive. He probably at stages wanted to throw that dream down the drain."
At Brookvale Oval tomorrow, barring injury or a late change of mind from Manly coach Geoff Toovey, Liam's persistence and Kieran's belief will pay off when the pair play their first game together in the premiership. It's been a long time coming.
Their dream has survived Liam's move to Melbourne. It has survived days in limbo. It has survived injury and exasperation.
"I just wanted to get back in the NRL for starters," Liam said.
"I didn't really know where my career was ending up 12 months ago. It's been extremely tough for me the last three or four years.
"His career went sky-rocketing and mine was headed the other way. I always knew if I was fit enough and given the opportunity, I always backed myself to play in the NRL and to do a good job."
Liam has done just that over the past six weeks. When Kieran was sidelined with a hamstring injury, Liam stepped into his brother's shoes and helped the Sea Eagles win four of their past five games. And with Kieran scheduled to return this week, Liam has retained a place on the interchange bench.
Asked how he felt watching Liam over the past six weeks, Kieran said: "Probably incredibly proud because I have seen the challenges he has had.
"I have been the one on the other end of the phone. I have gone though the **** times when he thought he might not get there or it might not work for him."
At those times, Liam invariably turned to Kieran.
"Everyone always says 'You're the older brother'," Liam said.
"But in footy terms it's the complete opposite. I am the apprentice and I sit and listen to what he says. The last five weeks I owe a fair bit of the stuff I have done to Kez.
"Before games, he gives me two or three things to focus on before I go out. I try to make sure I nail those two or three basic things."
To understand how close the Forans are, you have to go back to their childhood on Sydney's north shore. As kids, when Liam and good mate Mitchell Pearce were invited to parties, Kieran would invariably join them.
"Sometimes we look at other brothers and think how can you not be joined at the hip with your brother," Kieran said.
"It's the only thing we have known. I remember stories when we were young. I would have been 14 or 15 and you'd be going to parties. I would be rocking up with these boys and people would come up to them and ask 'Why does your younger brother always come along with you?' It was funny.
"If you talk to people who knew us as kids or teenagers, they would say you wouldn't see one without the other.
"I don't know why we're so close. I suppose sport brings you closer. You're always playing games and spending time with each other."
With any luck, they'll spend time together tomorrow.
"You can wake up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes, then you get in the car and think I am going 10 minutes down the road to train for the NRL with my brother. It brings a smile back to your face," Kieran said.
"Brett and Glenn (Stewart) have been an inspiration to us. I love watching them warm up with each other and go out there together. I love it. That's something special. I watch it every week. I wish we could do that.
"I think our whole life we wanted to get to the NRL and I suppose playing together was another goal. Hopefully this weekend it happens."