One of the most unusual things about the Goulburn Bulldogs' return in 2021 was the absence of the Cornish brothers.
Mitch, Tyler, and Nick Cornish are three of the brightest rugby league talents to emerge from Goulburn in recent years, and all three have been important fixtures in the Bulldogs' lineups.
But ahead of the 2021 season, Nick took the opportunity to move to Young and start a new chapter of his life both personally and on the field with the Young Cherrypickers.
Tyler and Mitch both remain in Goulburn, but made the choice to play for Young this year to have one last run with their youngest brother.
Two-thirds of the way through the season, it is safe to say the move has been a success.
Mitch and Nick sit at joint-fifth on the list of competition try-scorers, with eight apiece, and Tyler is two spots behind them with six.
The Cornishes' combined 22 tries have contributed hugely to the team's current rank of third on the ladder, and the Cherrypickers are eyeing a move upwards when they take on the first-ranked Tumut Blues this weekend.
"I think we're happy to be sitting where we are," Tyler said.
"Obviously every team wants to be coming first, but as a new side it's taken us a while to find our groove. The two sides above us are the only ones worrying us at the moment.
"But we haven't played our best footy against them either ... we're playing Tumut this weekend and that'll let us know where we're sitting."
Young eagerly took the opportunity to add three high-quality players to its roster at the start of the year, and Tyler praised the club for the hospitality it has shown him and his brothers.
"I didn't expect to be treated as well as we have been," Tyler said.
"They've gone above and beyond with everything, when it comes to traveling over there, accommodation if we want to stay the night. They've been awesome."
One of the most pleasing things since their arrival in Young, Tyler said, was watching Nick improve his game.
While, in Goulburn, the young halfback sometimes struggled defensively due to his small frame, a new start with the Cherrypickers gave him the chance to reinvent himself.
"Out of the three of us, Nick's probably been the standout this season. He's come on in leaps and bounds," Tyler said.
"He hasn't been the best defender over the years because of his size, but he's starting to put on a bit of size and get a bit stronger. He's shown that this year, he's folding blokes and he's really taking it to them. There's not too many blokes that'll get through him now.
"Just as a half in general, he's always been a bit quiet, but now he's taken on a bit of a leadership role. He's completing his game."
One of the biggest questions about any athlete when starting with a new side is how quickly they will settle into the team dynamic.
After relying primarily on their footspeed to create scoring opportunities early in the season, Tyler said all three brothers quickly found combinations that work and now feel comfortable within their roles in the side.
"We're all back in our normal positions, in the halves and fullback for me," he said.
"We took a while to gel as you do with a whole new spine, but halfway through the season we're sitting third and going pretty well.
"We had to rely on our running game a little bit, especially at the start of the season, while we found combos."
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