Sport

Brush with rugby at Ballina

CUT ABOVE: Brothers Oka, Stan and Anthony Lolohea run a barber shop and also play rugby union for Ballina.
CUT ABOVE: Brothers Oka, Stan and Anthony Lolohea run a barber shop and also play rugby union for Ballina. Mitchell Craig

A GROUP of brothers who run a barber shop in Ballina are also proving to be a big hit on the field for the Seahorses in Far North Coast rugby union.

Anthony, Oka and Stanley Lolohea work at Eight Brothers Barber Shop and have been handy additions to the Ballina first grade team this season.

Anthony and Oka will line up in the centres together when Ballina hosts Byron Bay at Quays Reserve, Ballina, this afternoon.

The trio come from a Tongan background and grew up in New Zealand with all eight brothers now in Australia.

"I started cutting hair by myself after high school and figured it was too busy so the boys jumped on board after that,” Anthony Lolohea said.

"There are six of us here in Ballina with one on the Gold Coast and the other one in Sydney.

"Two of the boys are younger than Stan (19) and they just help out here part-time.”

Anthony, 23, moved to Ballina last year when his partner Stevie was pregnant with their first child.

They are renovating the shop as the Lolohea family looks to settle in the region.

"I moved here first and Stan came straight from Sydney after he finished school last year,” Anthony said.

"He wasn't sure what he wanted to do so I gave him an opportunity here and Oka followed suit after coming out of construction.

"All the rugby boys come and support the business, which really helps.

"I definitely think we'll be here for a while; we definitely prefer it over the big cities.”

Coach Chris Hickey said the Lolohea brothers had been a welcome addition to the rugby club.

"It's always good to have some fresh blood in the club and the three boys have really made a good contribution, on and off the field,” Hickey said.

"Ballina is a family club and to have people establishing businesses in the area is great.

"This set-up is relatively new to Ballina and I think the community has really embraced them too.

"As they keep playing together I'm sure there will be even better performances to come there.”

Teenage brothers Nick and Tom Watson will also play in the top grade together for the first time at halfback and five-eighth.

Kick-off is 3.15pm.

In other games:

Bangalow plays Wollongbar- Alstonville at Schultz Oval, Bangalow.

Lismore takes on the Casino Bulls at Lismore Rugby Park.

Lennox Head hosts Casuarina at Williams Reserve, Lennox Head.