Scratching for the semis
By STEVE SPINKS
SYDNEY Roosters centre Mitch Aubusson described Saturday night's upset 23-12 victory over Cronulla as the 'light at the end of the tunnel' following a tumultuous number of weeks at the Bondi Junction club.
Aubusson, a Ballina Seagulls product who is playing his first season in the National Rugby League, has experienced the cruel nature of professional league first-hand as Roosters coach Chris Anderson resigned last week after the misfiring Tricolours were dismantled in a 56-0 loss to Manly.
Anderson's replacement, club legend Brad Fittler, helped turn around the fortunes of the glamour Sydney club as he masterminded the upset over the Sharks.
"The last couple of weeks, and I suppose the whole year, has been a real learning experience," Aubusson told The Northern Star.
"But I guess every club goes through these cycles and I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"The win (against Cronulla) was the light at the end of the tunnel."
But don't think Aubusson blames Anderson for the Roosters poor showing this season.
"I feel sorry for Opes (Anderson)," the 19-year-old said.
"We were the players out on the field and we just weren't responding."
Making Anderson's departure even more difficult for Aubusson was the fact that the former Canterbury, Melbourne and Cronulla boss was a mentor for the rookie.
"He helped me a lot during his time here," the former Xavier Catholic College student said.
"Especially with stuff off the field and getting my mindset right. You can't switch off and hide from football in Sydney."
In a coincidence, a deflated Anderson was spied watching the Roosters overcome the Sharks on Saturday night at The Beach Hotel in Byron Bay.
With the larger-than-life Fittler now at the helm of the Roosters and with their Saturday night win filling them with confidence, Aubusson believes that despite languishing at the tail of the ladder the 2002 premiers could sneak into the semi-finals.
"The semi-finals are in the back of everyone's minds," he said.
"But we just have to concentrate on putting in strong performances every week."
Aubusson picked up a small ligament injury to his hand after making a number of line breaks and defending strongly in the victory over the Sharks.
However, he will be fit for the Roosters' next match against the Knights in Newcastle this weekend.