Footy was a way out, now their paths meet at West End
THE West End Bulldogs will be guided by a sixth sense should a shortened RLI A-Grade competition proceed.
With four Oti brothers to line up in the same team, the Doggies promise to be attuned like never before.
Fulfilling a lifelong ambition, fullback Classie, 29, five-eighth Paris, 28, second rower Cann, 26, and half Israel, 22, will play alongside each other for the first time in their footballing lives.
While four from the same brood appearing for the one A-Grade team is rare enough, it could yet be five.
Believed to be the best exponent of the family, 27-year-old five-eighth Elias is also a chance to play out of the kennel this year.
"We've been trying to pull the strings on another brother," Israel said.
"We have all been in his ear. He's the one with all the talent. He is the game changer."
Before shifting to the Gold Coast in 2011, the brothers were raised on the mean streets of West Auckland where poverty is the norm, substance abuse endemic and gang violence rife.
Sport offered the boys an alternative lifestyle and an avenue to escape what can be a vicious cycle.
"Not many make it out from that area," Israel said.
"Footy gave us a way out and a path to better opportunities. It was our safehaven. We were always down at the club. That was how we were raised."
From far and wide the Otis will converge on Basin Pocket.
Classie is travelling from Beenleigh, Caan from Coomera, Paris from Browns Plains and Israel lives at Springfield.
Having grown up testing each other's skills in the backyard, they know each other's games inside out.
Israel expects this heightened intuition to hold the side, which showed positive on-field signs late last season, in good stead. as it strives to climb up the rankings.
With every possibility the Ipswich Jets will take part in the RLI to get some time on the park and take advantage of the chance to represent their original communities, prospects are looking brighter than they have in decades at West End.
With the Oti clan primed, passionate coach Jae Woodward at the helm and West End laying claims to two of the Jets' biggest stars former Bulldog pups playmaker Josh Cleeland and tireless lock Blake Lenehan, it could be the season the battling 106-year-old club has been praying for since it defeated Swifts 19-18 in 1990 to claim its last premiership.
Encouraged by thoughts of what the squad would be capable of achieving with the quality duo at its disposal, Israel said it would be awesome to have their services.
"They have played elite level footy and would bring that experience," he said.
"Cleeland would bring a lot of talent and also leadership.
"He has been there and done that. We have a young side, so it would be good to have him in there."
While Classie and Paris suited up in maroon last year, Caan had a season off rugby league.
Headhunted by Brothers after taking up employment in Ipswich, ex-Southport Tiger Israel helped the Raceview powerhouse to another trophy before the opportunity to link with his brothers and other long-term friends lured him to East Ipswich.
"I've always wanted to play for the club," he said.
"It is old school. They have a lot of talent and are hungry to play.
"I've wanted to play for them for a long time but I've been finding the courage to leave such a good club (Brothers).
"They (West End) just need direction.
"I'm excited for the season. I can't wait. Hopefully, we can show the other teams what we can do and challenge for the premiership."
The Otis pride themselves on work ethic. The family culture demands it of them.
Israel is a carpenter by trade. Classie is a barber and both Paris and Caan operate forklifts. Woodward will be hoping the family's penchant for hard work rubs off on his players and becomes the foundation for their success moving forward.