Brothers the blueprint for long-term success at Tigers
THE man they call Nobby has forged close ties at Norths and Brothers for more than the past two decades.
It is no surprise he feels equally comfortable coaching at both, given the similarities he sees between the Ipswich Rugby League's most successful clubs.
He's been an assistant A-grade coach at Brothers when they won a premiership and head coach at Norths when they lost one - to Brothers.
He recognises parallels with Norths now to where Brothers were some years ago, with a dominant junior base translating into long term senior success.
"There were a lot of senior players at Brothers who had been in the system a long time," he said of the Brothers teams that won four straight titles twice (1998-2001 and 2006-09).
"The younger players buy into it.
'"Like turning up to train and play with the right attitude and knowing how to prepare yourself.
"Norths are at the same point at the moment."
Despite that, O'Brien is actively looking to improve the playing roster by attracting some new talent to the club.
But he also knows that a happy club is a successful club, from the juniors through to A-grade.
"There's a couple of players I want to get in contact with," O'Brien said.
"I'm not doing my job if I'm not asking players what they're doing next year.
"I just want us to make sure everyone has an enjoyable year.
"You've got to be successful in A-grade and under-19s to have a successful club and the juniors are a big part."