Pulling on a Cowboys jersey wasn't the only special milestone for Kyle and Zac Laybutt in last weekend's trial match against the Rabbitohs, with the game being the first time the brothers have played together.
The squad was made up of the Cowboys’ emerging talent and top players from the club’s three Queensland Cup feeder teams – Northern Pride, Townsville Blackhawks and Mackay Cutters.
Growing up in the Bundaberg Region Kyle and Zac attended Bundaberg State High School, before Kyle’s NRL dreams started to come true when he joined the North Queensland's NRL squad in 2016.
His younger brother Zac followed in his footsteps and last year he was contracted in the Cowboys’ Hasting Deering Colts Grand Final.
Both Laybutt brothers play for Townsville and Districts Mendi Blackhawks and in an interview before the Cowboys v Rabbitohs trial match they told the club they were looking forward to competing alongside one another.
Mendi Blackhawks Five-eighth Kyle Laybutt said it would be a different playing field compared to the old days in the backyard of their Bundaberg home.
“Because of the age difference we never got to play any footy together, so this will be our first official game together,” Kyle said.
“A lot of our games used to end in tears, because of the age difference and me being competitive I never let him win!”
Zac said it was amazing to be given the opportunity to play alongside his brother for the first time, but he never thought it would be for the North Queensland Cowboys.
“I didn’t think we’d really get that opportunity playing for the Cowboys, we obviously thought for the Blackhawks, but it’s a really exciting opportunity,” Zac said.
In the Cowboys v Rabbitohs trial match Zac, 19, showed what he was made of as he scored a try and helped down the Rabbitohs 24-12 in the pre-season trial at Barlow Park in Cairns.
After the match on Saturday evening Cowboys head coach Todd Payten said the trial game was good experience for the players from the feeder clubs, and he said they should be ready for what the future could hold.
“As part of the message I just spoke about in the sheds, is that we are of the expectation that anything can happen this season,” he said.
“We have permission from the NRL to dip outside our top 30.
“So, I just urge them to be ready.”
Also making the interchange for the trial was Patrick Kaufusi, who grew up in the Bundaberg Region and attended Shalom College.
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