BRISBANE'S Jack Reed and Matt Gillett will stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Sunday's NRL grand final, continuing a mateship that started when they were young kids running around in the junior competition on Bribie Island.

A grand final victory against crowd favourites North Queensland would be special for both, neither of who found their way into the Broncos system the usual way, but grabbed the opportunities that came their way.

Asked if he thought the people of Bribie Island would erect statues in their honour if they created history on Sunday, English-born Reed said: "Mine would be a small bronze one next to his (Gillett's) big gold one.

"We're two country kids who have played rugby league together since we were 12 years old. It's a great feeling knowing I'm playing a grand final with him.

"Me and Gillo went to school together and we were good mates, he lived just around the corner - and Bribie is not that big.

"We're pretty close - our partners and families are close so it's a special occasion for everyone."

Meanwhile Broncos skipper Justin Hodges' back is still causing him issues, but will not keep him out of Sunday's farewell game.

"It's a bit sore, but this is a grand final, you do anything to get on the field. I'm not worried about it," he said after quitting training early again.

Hodges, who has scored 99 career tries, is looking for a fairytale grand final send off.

- WAYNE HEMING



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