A house divided: brothers in Collingwood and Melbourne camps

902278-22255208-64af-11e4-a310-49154a12f97bDavid Frost knew what it was to have a namesake. The double-take and giggle when you mentioned your name. The upside was it robbed friends of a nickname choice.

He got called ‘Jack’ Frost anyway and so was not just ribbed for being the man who undid Richard Nixon on TV.

When Wendy Frost was pregnant with their first child the obstetricians and midwives all called the unborn baby Jack. Then they had a daughter, Dani. When Wendy fell pregnant again, once more the bump was rubbed and dubbed ‘Jack’.

“When I was pregnant the second time it was back again – when is Jack due? How is Jack going? So it was like ‘just name him Jack already!’ And it takes the fun out of the nickname for everyone else,” Wendy said.

“My husband is David Frost which is funny enough but then everyone nicknamed him Jack anyway.”

So the first-born son was named Jack Frost. When a younger brother came along it took David and Wendy a week to come up with a name. They eventually settled on Sam.

Only 18 months separates Jack and Sam Frost and not much more. Both are tall, athletic footballers. Both play for AFL clubs. Both were basketballers who turned to footy late, both started as rookies. And now that Sam has returned to Melbourne after being recruited to GWS, they both live at home with mum and dad.

“My heart says it’s fantastic. I love it [having both boys at home again] but there are days when there’s just not enough wine,” Wendy laughed. “I love having the whole family together, every mum will tell you that, but there are some days, like last night, where I am about ready to move out.

“When it is all going well it’s fantastic and it’s nice being a part of it all. But a conversation I had with the Langdons (parents of Collingwood’s Tom and Fremantle’s Ed) and the DeGoeys (parents of Collingwood’s Jordan) was that home is the last place you can talk about their football. This is their sanctuary because whether it is up the street for a coffee or to the shop everywhere they go they get asked a question. David can’t help himself but we try to make this the one place they cannot talk about footy.”

They are also not allowed to accompany her to the supermarket. The grocery bill is already mountainous but far bigger again when the boys load the trolley.

Only a wall separates Jack and Sam. . They have adjoining rooms upstairs. In the pre-season Sam would arrive home from training to find Jack on the Playstation in his room, he would walk in and wordlessly sit down and watch. He wouldn’t even pick up a handset, he’d just sit and chill out. When the silence breaks it is with “a fair bit of swearing and bagging each other out”, Jack said.

They don’t watch a lot of footy together but will trade an occasional note on an opponent. Growing up they were so close in size and ability that David had to be wary with a kick-to-kick session. Both have a tendency to white line fever, only Sam doesn’t require the white line. He just has a fever. The red mist descends easily for him.

“Sam’s temper is his worst trait. It is a lot better now, it used to be really bad. He has a ‘no crap’ attitude and if you get on the wrong side of it …,” Jack said.

“We don’t butt heads at all because we are good at reading when someone is in a bad mood or to stop talking whereas the rest of the family members don’t know that line. Mum and Dani cop the most from Sam. I can see it from a mile way when someone else is going to cop it.”

Sam blushes, smiles and sheepishly nods.

“Jack’s worst trait or the one thing that gets me is if it’s a Wednesday night and he has Thursday off but I have to be up at 6.30 on Thursday he will be up real late playing computer games and his computer faces my wall so I can hear him through the wall talking and playing games and I can’t get to sleep. That annoys me,” Sam said.

He wasn’t planning to return the favour and keep Jack up late ahead of Monday’s game.

The brothers played together eight times for Sandy Dragons as teenagers and have played against each other once – when GWS played Collingwood but both were defenders that day and stayed wide of each other. They don’t know how they would go playing on one another.

“It could have happened because he is a forward now. It is a great question I am glad I don’t have to think about it yet because I am not sure how I would play him. It would be hard because we are both athletic types but he is a bit bigger than I am. I feel like I have got a mental advantage over him being the older brother,” Jack said.

“I think strength-wise Jack had the advantage over me in kick-to-kick with dad but it just got too heated. Dad would end up having to break it up. There was a bit of playing dirty because he was stronger,” Sam said.

Who is quicker?

“Oh I would probably back myself in,” Sam said.

“I was going to say Sam but after he said that, probably not,” Jack replied.

With Sam out of Monday’s game the family is saved the confronting demarcation of picking a team. Jack thinks Wendy would go for Sam if it came down to it. Sam again smiles, nods and agrees.

“Mum would definitely like to think she is 50-50, but I probably do have her,” he said.

David, who played for Sturt and Glenelg in the SANFL, just likes to watch good footy and watch his boys play … but he does love the big crowds. He would be on the Pies.

Wendy smiles diplomatically and a little uncertainly at the question. She says her standard answer is that she barracks for the defenders as both her boys were backmen but Sam has latterly shifted forward so that has confounded that answer.

“It would depend how Sam has been acting, you are probably asking in the wrong week. He is not my favourite this week,” she laughs.

Wendy acknowledges she and Sam are very similar in personality – things are, ironically, either black or white. Jack is different, he is far more laidback, “which is good but it can also be very frustrating,” she said.

“I feel like mum sort of goes for Sam because he is the youngest. I think no matter what team Sam played for or no matter what team I played for I think mum would probably go for Sam a bit more,” said Jack matter-of-factly.

Wendy and David are pleased in one way they are saved that dilemma this week.

“Mrs Langdon and I agreed we probably wouldn’t even go to the match. We agreed it would be like watching them grow up and fight in the back yard.”