From a 16-year-old boy from Ballina to a 300-game Roosters player, Mitchell Aubusson has grown to become one of the Club’s favourite sons.
“The way you would love your son to be is the way that ‘Aubo’ is,” proud Roosters Coach Trent Robinson described Aubusson.
Mitchell Aubusson to us
“He is a guy who honours his family really well and the Roosters.
“(Mitch) is one of the most honourable men you will meet. When you walk in these doors at the Roosters, anybody from head coach to a first-day player, he sets the standard for how anyone should act as a Rooster.
“He is an action guy and will do the right thing all the time, he thinks of the Club ahead of himself incredibly all the time.”
Scouted by another favourite son of the Club, Arthur Beetson, Aubusson has earned the respect of team mates, staff, Roosters fans and the wider rugby league community for his consistent hard work and willingness to play any role for the team.
Aubusson was on a scholarship with the Roosters in year 11 and 12, and then joined the Roosters in Sydney after finishing school. When he first moved to Sydney, he was a rugby league development trainee at the Club.
One of the friends he made during his time as a trainee was Cathy King, who is now the Club’s Executive Manager Club Operations.
King said it has been “special” watching ‘Aubo’ come in as a teen and become the man he is today.
“He came to the Club as a 16-year-old and he’s become a father, and I have watched him grow over that time to become this really good human, and good man,” King said.
“I think he has quietly gone about his business. The subtle nature of the way Mitch does things has such an incredible impact that he probably doesn’t realise on others around him.
He’s one of my best mates. When he came here, we became good friends and our families were friends.
“Our dads were in the fire brigade together. We had a good group with Mitch, Jake and ‘Jazza’ (Jared) a little bit later on, and ended up forming a really good bond with those guys.
“He’s been terrific for me. He’s helped me through some tough times and you know he’s there just to give you some advice or to listen.”
Aubusson made his Roosters debut in round one of the 2007 season. The utility, who now regularly players in the second row, initially played for the Club as a five-eighth.
Craig Fitzgibbon, who played with Aubusson in his debut and is now Roosters Assistant Coach, has developed a great friendship with ‘Aubo’.
“I remember he was a quiet blonde-haired kid coming down, who started at five-eighth for his game from memory but he always had that utility value.” Fitzgibbon said.
“I knew he was from Ballina and I had a lot family myself from Ballina so there was a connection there and a point of conversation, but he is very easy to get along with.
“He was always low maintenance. He comes in (and do) whatever job was required with minimal fuss, just getting the job done like he did back then.
“It is a weird dynamic to play with someone and then coach them, but ‘Aubo’ has made the transition for me easy.
“He is such a respectful guy. In the early days he could see I was trying to figure out what to do and what was needed as a coach.
“Because of the quality of ‘Aubo’, it made that transition easy and the more time has gone on, we’ve got closer as mates, albeit respecting the professional side of things.”
During his decorated Club career, Aubusson has won 3 premierships, been named Clubman of the year three times, and has been Club Captain since 2017.
Aubusson 300 | Highlights
The 32-year-old one-club man will become just the third Rooster – after Luke Ricketson and Anthony Minichiello – to play 300 games for the Club.
Fitzgibbon said is proud of the way his mate has reached the historic milestone.
“It is not easy for guys to wake up every day irrespective of how they feel and turn up and offer the same product every time they turn up,” Fitzgibbon said.
“Others tend to ebb and flow on how they feel or situations outside of football, but not ‘Aubo’. Irrespective of what’s going on, he turns up and produces the same and has done that for the whole 300.
“It is a remarkable achievement to get to 300, but in the style he has done it is pretty hard to match.
“He never wavers, he is so consistent in his beliefs and his behaviour, and everyone has a healthy respect for that style of person.
“For us coaches, (he is) someone you can rely on. Five minutes before the game you might change his role, it won’t matter. The guy is always there for you, and he’s always there for the Club as well.”
Robinson credits Aubusson’s great knowledge of the game and his ability to adapt to change as a key for playing consistently so well throughout his 300 games.
“He is probably 5-6kg smaller than a normal back-rower and 10-15kg smaller than the new age back-rower that are coming into our game, so his footy smarts and understanding of what he needs to do and what others will do in front of him, and what he needs to do to adapt and combat that - that is key in him playing 300 games,” Robinson said.
“The thing that he developed was his defensive nous. He is one of the best defenders I have ever seen play the game, his ability to understand the opposition, understand his movements, coach others around him, so his ability to lead players on and off the field has been his biggest development for him.
“It is hard to play 300 games at the Roosters. It is a Club that demands success and demands players play at a high standard for a long period of time, hence why Luke Ricketson and Anthony Minichiello as the other 300 Club members, and that’s what ‘Aubo’ is.
“He has played at a high level for a long period of time and he’s a Rooster. I am really proud of him and it’s an honour to see him run out there and make 300 games.
“Knowing ‘Aubo’, he will think of the people that helped him get there. It won’t be ego-driven of ‘I’ve got there’, it will be more about the people that have helped him get to that point, and he will be quietly honoured to be a part of that 300 Club with ‘Mini’ and ‘Ricko’.”