Fremantle’s Lachie Weller started as the sub in his second game. He ran onto the field at the 15-minute mark of the third quarter eager to make an impression with his brother Mav Weller on the opposing side.
But when the ball came his way and he had a chance to get an early kick, he made a comical error.
As Mav tells Aflplayers.com.au, his brother may have taken the chocolates in the end but Lachie’s mistake is something he won’t forget.
“We didn’t clash on the field and we still haven’t yet but in our first game against each other, his first kick went straight to me – he seriously couldn’t have hit me any better which was pretty funny,” Mav says.
It might have been the duo’s first encounter at the elite level, but it wasn’t the first time they had played in opposite colours.
During Mav’s time at the Gold Coast Suns in 2013, Lachie played both against and with his brother in the same season, with Mav saying the then 16-year-old Lachie really impressed, particularly in the battle against each other.
“When I played for Gold Coast in the NEAFL one day, he played against me for Broadbeach and kicked four goals and had about 25 possessions in a win for them which wasn’t the greatest feeling.
“We also played together in a Gold Coast seconds game which was awesome but also a bit weird. After a few years with certain players you start to work out how they play and you develop this chemistry and I instantly had that with Lachie when we played together.
“I sort of knew what he was going to do from all that backyard kicking and mucking around.”
With dominant performances as a teenager, it’s little wonder Lachie went to the Dockers with pick 13 in the draft the following year.
“We used to have this little car that we would put him in and would ghost it down a hill and he’d stack it big time. he’d get out and have skin taken off him but he wouldn’t cry.” – Mav on Lachie
Featuring in each of Fremantle’s 2016 matches, Lachie took out the Round 12 Rising Star nomination for a career-best 22 disposals and four goals as the club secured back-to-back wins.
Mav believes Lachie – who he nicknamed “’Dewey’ like the character from Malcolm in the Middle because he had massive ears” – was always destined to play in the AFL from the moment he picked up a footy.
Mav says it stems back to Lachie being forced to compete with two brothers four and seven years older than him as a youngster.
“He’s a quiet kid that just goes about his business but he’s ultra-competitive. He’s probably the most competitive person I’ve met, he is just so driven to get the most out of himself and that’s him in a nut-shell I reckon.
“When he was a toddler, my older brother and I used to throw him around a bit like a rag doll as most brothers do. We used to have this little car that we would put him in and would ghost it down a hill and he’d stack it big time. Then he’d get out and have skin all taken off him but he wouldn’t cry and would just walk it off.
“I think having two older brothers is a massive part of his competitiveness. But I think our parents are also really competitive – mum is probably the most competitive woman ever, she’s just so full pelt.
“We were into a lot of different sports and would come home and shoot the basketball, kick the footy and even playing marbles – everything was a competition I suppose and looking back, it was really healthy because it was really driving us.”
Mav also says Lachie was committed to getting an edge on the competition even if it meant going it alone.
“He used to work so hard. Even as a kid around seven or eight years old when it was absolutely bucketing down outside, I’d come home from soccer training or something and he’d be in the full footy kit outside just kicking the footy to himself.
“Even when he wore me out, he’d continue to kick the footy to himself outside. I’d be thinking ‘the little bugger is getting one up on me’ and it’d make me want to get out there as well.
“But that’s just Lachie. Looking at him now, he’s a bit of a classy finisher and has good skills and so I guess it has all paid off.”
And when the pair meet again on game day in 2017, there’s always the dilemma of who the parents will barrack for but Mav says their mother balances her support pretty well.
“Mum has a scarf with half Saints and half Dockers stitched onto it which Nan knitted for her, so she doesn’t pick sides. I think she tells Lachie that she wants me to play well and hopes Fremantle will win and tells me the opposite.”