They are identical in appearance, they do the same uni course, they have the same job, they play in the same football team, they have the same group of friends… one wonders if the lives of Dalton and Jason Burton could be any more in sync.
The 19 year old Traralgon brothers have the same interests. So if one feels like having a kick of the footy, the other is up for it too.
They also have the same personalities, so how does that work with girls? With the same physical and personal characteristics, do girls fall for both guys? Or is it possible for a girl to fall for one and not the other? And because the brothers are so in sync, could they fall for the same girl?
Jason and Dalton are used to people like lecturers and school teachers getting them mixed up. Dalton says even though they sometimes tricked school teachers, they probably didn’t take full advantage of their identicality. He makes that admission almost apologetically, as though he knows that such pranks are mandatory.
Mum knows which is which because… well, mums know. But dad is not so sure. Jason says “If one of us does something wrong, he doesn’t know who it was so he just yells out ‘Jason and Dalton’ and asks who did it.”
“He’s found a way to work with it!”
They have no siblings other than each other. Dalton is keen to point out that he was born first, by two minutes.
Dalton and Jason were born in South Africa. The family moved to New Zealand when they were six and from there to Traralgon at the age of twelve. Before their introduction to Aussie Rules football they played soccer and rugby. In all three ball sports they play in the centre, usually on the wings. Dalton left, Jason right.
“We play real well off each other because we can read each other,” says Dalton.
Jason says they realised just how much they’re motivated by each other at last year’s Traralgon Tyers United best & fairest vote count. Jason says he was polling well in Reserves voting until the point in the year when Dalton injured an ACL in his knee and stopped playing. From then on, Jason just didn’t play as well.
Occasionally stories emerge about monozygotic twins having some kind of psychic connection. Jason and Dalton say they haven’t experienced that, except perhaps for one occasion when they were three years old.
Dalton and his parents had gone to the shops and Jason was being looked after by friends. While in the car, Dalton got concerned and said to his mother, “What’s wrong with Jason? Jason’s crying. There’s something wrong with him.”
Upon returning to their friends’ house they learnt that Jason was crying from the moment his family left and he couldn’t be settled down.
That was just one time though. They don’t feel each other’s footy injuries or read each other’s minds. However, because they have lived together all their lives and have the same interests and involvements, Dalton says they can often read and anticipate each other. But that just comes from familiarity.
Customers buying a Nando’s meal can play ‘spot the difference’ while waiting for their meals to come.
There is some individuality. They talk about different tastes in food, clothing and travel desires. And when younger, they had the fights and disagreements that all brothers have.
Dalton and Jason also differ in one important matter. Dalton barracks for Richmond while Jason is a Hawthorn supporter.
The brothers both have girlfriends. They say girls have never been an issue because even though they both may initially like a girl, once she becomes the girlfriend of one, the other just loses romantic interest. Very convenient really.
The boys even went out with another set of twins once.
2015 will see a dramatic change for Jason and Dalton. They’ll be living in different locations for the first time.
The brothers are currently studying civil engineering at Federation University’s Churchill campus. However Dalton will continue his studies in Melbourne next year.
“It will be interesting to see how that goes,” says Dalton. “I know he’ll miss me!”
Jason says, “I’m kinda curious, even excited, to see how that goes. It will be weird.”
Looking to the longer term, as their life paths further diverge, Jason wonders how much greater their differences will become. Only time will tell about that.
UPDATE January 2015: Dalton is not changing to Melbourne University after all. He’ll continue his civil engineering studies at Federation University’s campus at Churchill.