Mitchell Aubusson is officially set to become the most capped Sydney Roosters player on Saturday night, and you'll be hard pressed to find two bigger supporters of this achievement than the two Club legends who set the record before him in Luke Ricketson and Anthony Minichiello.
Aubusson is as reliable and professional as a rugby league player comes, just ask anyone who's had the pleasure of working with him over his fourteen seasons in the NRL.
Now with first grade appearance number 303 just days away from becoming a reality, it's easy to see the pride within the Roosters community.
In order to understand just how impressive and special this milestone is for Aubusson, you first have to hear what kind of dedication and professionalism it takes to allow yourself the opportunity.
Who would know this better than the two men that sit in the Roosters 300 Club alongside the Club veteran?
Mitchell Aubusson Career Highlights
The first man to crack the 300 game milestone for the Sydney Roosters, Luke Ricketson was one of the first to get in touch with Aubusson upon the approach of his 300th NRL game against the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Ricketson topped the leaderboard for the Roosters back in 2002, overtaking the great Kevin Hastings who'd made made 217 appearances for the Club.
He reached the 300 game milestone just one match short of his retirement in 2005, which resulted in a win at Suncorp Stadium against the Brisbane Broncos.
Looking back on his illustrious career with the Tricolours, the fond memories of his milestone achievements came flooding back.
“I recall getting to 217 games back in the day, which was the record back then that was held by Horrie (Kevin Hastings)," Ricketson said when talking to Roosters digital.
“At the time that was really exciting, the Club was going through some changes and they were really excited for me.
“The career certainly wasn’t over from there, it (the milestone) came and went quickly.
“I remember doing some promo’s with Kev at the time and going through the history of the Club with him, which was pretty special.
“Getting to the 300 was really great, because you just never expect to get there.
“We went up to Brissy against the Broncos for that one and got the win
“The Club made a big fuss about it, and so did the league which was really great.
“It wasn’t just celebrating with the Club, your family and your mates, the NRL really got around it too.”
Nine years later and with plenty of adversity on his side, Ricketson's good friend and former teammate Anthony Minichiello would top the leaderboard in his final game for the Club against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2014.
Excited for his friend and proud as a loyal Roosters Clubman, Ricketson felt nothing but joy for Minichiello on his milestone night.
When Aubusson found himself on the verge of joining the pair in the illustrious 300 Club in 2020, Ricketson was quick to reach out in a special way.
He started a group chat with Aubusson that included Mini, where the three could share some words together as the three men who reached the milestone together.
“I was so wrapped for Mini when he broke the record, the way he fought through adversity and to overcome the injuries that he did.
“He was a fantastic ambassador for the Club, and he continues to be today.
“Then obviously Aubo sat in the background this year, we’re thinking he’ll smash the record if everything goes to plan.
“When 300 was looming, me and Mini got on a text message with Aubo and we just told him how proud we were.
“So happy for him to not only play the 300, but to put a good dent in the record when the time comes.
“He’s a great bloke too, I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Mitchell Aubusson to us
The second man to reach the 300 Roosters games milestone, Anthony Minichiello would do so in similar fashion to his friend Ricko.
His final NRL match in 2014 set the record, while his previous match saw him tie Ricketson at the top of the ladder with 301 appearances for the Club.
Minichiello looks back at his milestone match with nothing less than great pride, but at the time it was looked at as a must win game of football.
The Most Capped Rooster
“The milestone for me at the time took a back seat because the occasion was so much bigger," Minichiello said to Roosters digital.
“Looking back at it after retiring though, they’re wonderful achievements.
“Anyone that’s achieved 300 knows the hard work they’ve put in to get their body to last that long.
“It’s nice looking back, but when you’re in the moment it’s about the performance and the team.”
When Mini was asked about the 300 club and the two fellow legends who join him in that elite territory, he was quick to praise the Roosters for setting the platform where these achievements can become a reality.
“There’s no other Club in the NRL that have had three guys play over 300 games for the one club.
“That’s a huge achievement in itself, because we nurture our own.
“It’s a testament to the Roosters and the loyalty they provide when players give them loyalty back.”
The point of difference Minichiello has to Aubusson and Ricketson in the 300 club department is that he played a significant amount of football with both Ricketson (six seasons) and Aubusson (eight seasons).
Having captained Aubusson in both the 2013 and 2014 NRL season, he was quick to praise him for his unique ability on and off the field that has set him up for success with the Roosters.
“Mitch Aubusson has played every position bar front row and fullback.
“The utility factor that you get from Mitch is actually unbelievable.
“I’d suggest that most players would say to a coach at one point in their career that this is my favourite position and I want to have a crack at it.
“Mitch has always said I want to do what’s best for the team instead.
“He’s a total professional, on and off the field.”
Aubusson shines atop Roosters list
The record is now in arms reach with Round 19 just around the corner, but Aubusson as he's done his entire career remains focused on the task at hand.
Never fond of too much fuss or attention, Aubusson was adamant that while there is great pride in his achievement that there's still a job to do not just this week, but in 2020.
“I’m just going to really enjoy it this week," Aubusson said to the media early in the week.
“I think I’ll be really humbled by it, but it’s hard for me to look at it right now.
“I’m sure I’ll look back and be really proud of it and tell the kids about one day.”
“I just look at it as a game of footy to be played this weekend with two points up for grabs against a really good Sharks team.
“That’s how I’ll take it, we’ll go after a good game of footy.”
There have been plenty of different perspectives shared in regards to Aubusson as a footballer in recent times, but his perspective on his own career is the most enlightening of all.
Aubusson hasn't just worked hard on the field to collect his rewards, but has found that his preparation set the ground work for where he is today.
Just like a good competitor should do, Aubusson says that remaining adaptable was one of the major factors in ensuring his longevity in the Roosters line-ups year after year.
“I think for me preparation has been key.
“I needed to make sure I was selected each week, which meant I had to make sacrifices.
“I wanted to make sure I was in the team each week.
“I had to learn different positions, whether it was hooker, lock or centre.
“I had to do whatever I could to make sure I was valuable to the team, then just enjoy my footy, enjoy learning and enjoy trying to master my craft.”
Round 18, 2010 | Aubusson Calls Game
Despite retiring two years before Aubusson arrived at the Tricolours, Ricketson has fond memories of his early years at the Club.
Knowing full well what it means to be a Rooster after being a part of the Club's culture shift in the late 90's and early 2000's, Ricketson admires Aubusson in the way he completely encapsulates that.
Not just for what it means to the Roosters in recent seasons, but what it will set up for the Club going into the future.
“He’s a sponge, he enjoys being a Rooster and he knows what it’s all about," Ricketson said.
“It’s good seeing the success and the culture and what it’s evolved into now.
“Aubo has played a huge part in that.
“Me and Mini played an earlier part of that culture shift in the 2000’s, and Aubo is right there in what the culture is now.”
“I hope now that Aubo passes the baton potentially to someone like a Victor Radley, who goes onto play 300 plus games and carry on that culture all the way through.”
If there was ever any doubt about Aubusson reaching his 303rd game, it wasn't coming from his former Captain Anthony Minichiello.
“I always knew he was going to get there," Minichiello said with confidence.
“This is a really nice and special moment for him and his family.
“There’s nothing but pride there, we all support each other.
“Me and Ricko couldn’t be happier for Mitch.”
The two fellow Clubmen will be watching Aubusson top the leaderboard with great pride on Saturday night, united as ever in what the trio have accomplished for the Club.