THEY both retired to the paradise of the mid-north coast, both volunteered at the same marine rescue organisation and both had a decades-long affinity with the ocean.
And now, both are not only fully-fledged members of the shark attack club, but have both lived to tell the tale after being bitten on the foot by a great white.
As Col Rowland gave a paid interview to television networks from his John Hunter Hospital bed on Friday, former Newcastle firefighter Dave Quinlivan was hobbling around on a crutch as the frustration of a slow rehabilitation continues to test his mettle.
Mr Quinlivan, who had to fight of a great white which launched out of the water and grabbed onto his left foot as he paddled off Black Head Beach in September, 2015, still struggles to walk without shoes because his left Achilles tendon has not repaired.
He was at the physiotherapist on Thursday morning when news hit that Mr Rowland had been attacked just 20km south of where he was bitten.
The pair had both been volunteers at Marine Rescue Forster, although worked on different shifts and different parts of the volunteer organisation.
“It was definitely a bit of deja vu,’’ Mr Quinlivan said.
“There are a lot of similarities.
“I just wonder whether it might show that these sharks really do have something for the water craft and not the swimmers.
“There might be hundreds of swimmers along the coast and they don’t seem to get touched, but they love chomping onto a craft.’’
But the similarities are more than just both being on “watercraft” – Mr Rowland on a surfboard and Mr Quinlivan on a ski.
Both men had rarely spent a day out of the water and had rarely sighted sharks before they were bitten.
Both managed to fight back at the sharks and get to shore despite severe lacerations to their feet.
And both don’t blame the sharks.
“His was probably a bigger shark but he was possibly a little luckier than me,’’ Mr Quinlivan said.
“He is a lucky boy, we both are, and I wish him a speedy recovery.’’