This time two years ago, the Ioane brothers had the most tenuous grip on the international landscape and were in danger of seeing the enormity of their combined talent sit as a monument to lost opportunity.
Rieko was clinging to his place in the All Blacks squad, no longer a starter, his confidence shot and sharpness lost as a result of yet another poor campaign by the Blues.
As for Akira, he appeared to be in a terminal nosedive that was destined to end in him either packing up to try his luck offshore or even give up the game entirely and join the 9-5 masses working for the man.
The Ioanes, it seemed, would not be joining the Barrett, Brooke, Clarke, Whetton, Franks or Whitelock boys in the pantheon of All Blacks siblings.
And yet in the second Bledisloe Cup test of 2021, they were two of the most influential players on the park and from being on track to quietly slip into obscurity, they are now in position to establish themselves in folklore as yet another set of brothers who did great things in test football.
Rieko has had a hard time convincing that centre is his best position since he asked to play there in 2020, but he's rediscovered the sharpness and enthusiasm that marked him as such a special talent back in 2017 when he first came to national prominence.
He's rediscovered the acceleration that takes him past tacklers in just two steps and his top-end speed has returned with it.
That is the critical part because it is his athleticism which marks him as a potential great and why so many continue to believe that for now, his best position remains wing where his speed and size can combine more effectively in explosive harmony.
But what he has shown this year, and particularly with his performance in the 57-22 demolition of the Wallabies, is that while he may not yet have the breadth of micro skills or subtle touches possessed by the best midfielders, he's built his portfolio to the point where he can now contribute with something more than his athleticism.
His long passing has become a genuine weapon and with it, he's gone from finisher to finisher-provider and from uncertain and hesitant to sure and dominant. Whether the younger Ioane brother is a wing or centre is a question that can go unanswered for now.
Maybe he will develop the lightning hands, the short kicking game and innate defensive timing required to become a world-class centre.
Or maybe he won't, but he's added a dimension to his game that means the All Blacks, irrespective of what jersey he's wearing, want him on the field for the full 80 minutes in every test.
The same can now be said of Akira who hasn't yet proven unequivocally that he's the going to become the all-round force the All Blacks need at blindside, but he has certainly earned the right to keep trying to prove that he is.
His journey to the test arena was long and at times torturous with false starts and some publicly delivered cold, uncomfortable truths.
But the mental angst he has endured and the patience the national coaching group has shown all came to be worth it after he produced the performance he did at Eden Park in Bledisloe Two.
What the older Ioane brings is an almost unique ability for a player of his size to be able to accelerate past outside backs when he's given the ball in space.
He can also use the ball with composure and vision and if anyone has ever wondered why the selectors have persevered for so long with Akira, the answer presented itself late in the first half when he took his brother's long pass and then blasted 60 metres down the left flank, held his nerve and then offloaded to Damian McKenzie to set up Brodie Retallick for a sensational score.
His destructive power in the wider channels is his trump card, but the bigger gain the older Ioane has made in the last 12 months has been in the way he's dropped his body height in all of his core work.
For much of his earlier career he did everything standing tall. He carried too high, tackled too high, hit rucks too high and was all arms.
Now, as he showed with some crunching contacts that hurt the Wallabies, he's half a foot lower in everything he does and is all driving legs and square shoulders.
There is nothing tenuous about the Ioane boys now – they are two rocks on which much of the All Blacks' physical presence and ingenuity is being built.