When it comes to tight-knit friendships, Newcastle NSW Cup duo Tyler Randell and Chanel Mata’utia can be considered the best of buddies.
Mates since the Harold Matthews days coming through the junior ranks at the Knights, Randell and Mata'utia have long shared a tight bond on-and-off the field.
It's a connection that's set to continue next Wednesday night when the pair plays for the NSW Cup Representative side against the Queensland Residents at Suncorp Stadium.
The lead-up match to Origin III will be a special occasion for both boys, but especially Randell given the game will be his first rep jumper since he was 16.
"I've known Chanel for a long time going back to the junior days, so it's great to be selected together in this rep side," Randell says.
"I’m also really honoured to make the team and it will be a great experience up there at Suncorp for game three.
"It was shock to make it though, because I haven’t made any rep teams for a long time.
"I was in the Harold Matthews when I made my last rep team, so it's exciting."
It's a feeling shared by Mata'utia, who can't wait to don his state's colours for the first time since representing the NSW Under 20s two years ago.
He is also keen run around alongside his long-term mate Randell.
"I’ve played with Tyler for a long time, so it’s really good to be in this squad with him," Mata'utia says.
"It's always great to play for NSW in front of those bigger crowds, it's gives you that mad buzz."
Knights coach Rick Stone couldn't be happier with Mata'utia and Randell's selections on the wing and interchange bench respectively.
"Those two blokes thoroughly deserve their position," Stone enthuses.
"Chanel started the season off outstandingly before having a few injuries, but he has come back bigger and better in the last couple of weeks.
"When you’re looking for representative wingers, you are probably looking for that tough stuff on the play-two carries.
"And Chanel is probably as good as anyone in our competition. He is knocking right on the door for an NRL call-up, so hopefully he gets a return on that before the season is out.
"While Tyler has played numerous positions this year from halfback to five-eighth to hooker, second-row and lock and deserves his spot.
"Not that many players can cover that many positions, so I’ve always spoken to Tyler about No.14 being his best position rather than being six, seven or nine.
"Maybe that’s something in the future for Tyler as well.
"Kurt Gidley has done it at representative level and played a number of positions and that’s why I told Tyler not to get too hung up on one position."
Randell and Mata'utia's selections in the NSW Representative side will force a reshuffle for Saturday's clash against Illawarra at WIN Jubilee Oval in Sydney.
Stone says he has a number of options, including the prospect of five-eighth Michael Dobson returning from a rib injury.
"We’ve got Dobson a chance of coming back from injury, which would be a big boost for us," he confirms.
"Timana can go back to the centres and Brayden (Wiliame) can push out onto the wing to cover Chanel’s spot.
"We’ve also got a number of options in the forwards now with the likes of Clint Newton and Brenton Horwood."