The Roosters? Mitch Aubusson is collared by the North Queensland defence in NRL action in Townsville earlier this season. AAP
The Roosters? Mitch Aubusson is collared by the North Queensland defence in NRL action in Townsville earlier this season. AAP

James, Mitch are NRL rivals

By ADRIAN MILLER IT'S PROBABLY a good thing James and Mitch Aubusson have played each other only once before ? for their mum Lyn, anyway.

The boys, originally from Ballina, will front up against each other for the first time in the NRL this weekend as James' Melbourne Storm takes on Mitch's Sydney Roosters at Olympic Park in Melbourne.

And while the brothers are taking it in their stride, Lyn is a bit more frantic.

"I think I'll have to watch it at home by myself because I'll be pretty nervous," she said yesterday.

Mitch,19, has been named at five-eighth for his sixth NRL match in the absence of Braith Anasta, but even though it's the first time they've opposed each other at this level, he's treating it like any other game.

"I'm actually looking forward to playing him," he said. "We played against each other once before in Under-16s ? he played for Woodlawn and I played for Ballina ? and I think they won, but hopefully this time it will be a little different."

It's been a tough season for the Roosters, who are bottom on the premiership table, but Mitch has been happy with his form.

"My first goal was to play first grade this year and I've played five games so I'm very happy," he said.

"I played five-eighth in round one and hopefully I learned a bit.

"I've been doing quite a bit of work with Freddie (Brad Fittler) and it's just a matter of spending time there and getting used to the position."

James, 20, will slot into hooker with Cameron Smith on Origin duty ? but he's not looking to replace the Australian rake.

"I think I bring a lot of energy to the team so I'm looking forward to doing my own job, to be honest," he said.

"I'm comfortable at hooker, it's my preferred position now, and I'm still pushing myself to be in the top 17 each week so this is a big game."

James and Mitch are practically best mates off the field and they speak to each other a few times every week ? normally anyway.

"I've invited him out for dinner the night before the game, but I'm not sure if he'll take me up on the offer," James said.

"There's not many times you'd have dinner with an opposing player on a night before a game I suppose, but blood is thick than water."

Mitch might not front up the night before the game but he'd better tomorrow night because his older brother will be looking for him.

"It's going to be pretty personal," James said. "When you're at this level you have to focus on your own game and not worry about what everyone else is doing.

"But if I get an opportunity to get a shot on him I'll take it. "I won't be looking for it but I'd love to get one up on him."

Even so, he hopes Mitch does well. "At the end of the day we're still brothers so I'd love to see him play well, as long as we get the points," he said.



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