Ins and outs of NRL
By STEVE SPINKS
SUPER-SUB James Aubusson could be accused of doing the hokey pokey in his final few weeks with the Melbourne Storm in the National Rugby League.
He's in, he's out ... he even turns about.
On Sunday, Aubusson was in the Storm's squad of 17 that annihilated the Brisbane Broncos 40-0 in a qualifying semi-final at Olympic Park in Melbourne.
The former Marist Brothers player was a late call-up on to the bench for injured Storm five-eighth Greg Inglis, who injured his back the day before the game.
Veteran Matt Geyer replaced the Queensland State of Origin representative in the starting side.
Some would find it difficult being constantly switched in and out of the squad but Aubusson, who will join the Sydney Roosters next year, is relishing any time on the field.
"You train all week with the team and in terms of positional play it's fine," he said.
"It's more a mental thing. I was called up on Sunday morning but I kind of knew Saturday night when Greg hurt his back.
"But I've been doing it for 12 months, so you just adjust to the situation and I'm just grateful to play any footy."
The flogging of Brisbane may well prove to be Aubusson's last game with the Storm.
The Melbourne team will play the preliminary final in two weeks against the winner of the Bulldogs and Eels semi-final this weekend.
If they win the preliminary final, a grand final beckons but Aubusson knows it requires an injury to a team-mate for him to get a start.
"At the start of the year I never expected to play as many games as I have," the hooker or halfback said.
"There's not much I can do about it but I do hope I get the opportunity to play again."
Aubusson, of Ballina, is not the only Northern Rivers product in his final season with Melbourne.
Casino's Matt King will join English Super League Club Warrington at the end of this year.
Aubusson, a former St John's College Woodlawn student believes the Storm are on track to go one better than last season, when they lost the grand final to Brisbane.
"I think Craig (Bellamy, the coach) and the staff have timed it perfectly," Aubusson said.
"You can't be on top of your game for 25 rounds out of the year. I'd say we've hit our straps at the right time."