'The old man was looking after me': Aubusson's tough year
HE'S announced his retirement from the NRL at the end of the year, but Ballina product Mitchell Aubusson will go out as the Sydney Roosters' most capped player.
On Saturday night, his teammates gave him a well-deserved guard of honour as he ran onto the ground to play his 303rd game for his club.
With two tries from Aubusson, the Roosters smashed Cronulla, winning the match 34-18.
It was a bittersweet moment for Aubusson.
His father, Brian Aubusson, passed away suddenly in May, leaving his family and the community devastated.
He was a highly respected NSW Fire & Rescue commander who had served with the organisation for four decades.
Aubusson told Fox Sports it had been a "really tough year".
"The club's been really good to me and they've rallied around me," he told Fox Sports.
"They gave me the time that I needed and welcomed me back with open arms.
"A lot of my best mates are here (at Saturday's match) and tonight my family's here. My two kids, my wife, my mum, my brothers.
"I'm just really proud they can all be together and celebrate a good night tonight.
"I definitely think the old man was looking after me tonight as well for sure."
Aubusson's dream of breaking the Sydney Roosters' club record of 302 games looked shaky in August, when he was hurt in a "sickening" moment during the match between the Roosters and Melbourne Storm.
But in true Aubusson form, he made a comeback and achieved his goal.
Earlier this year, former Ballina Seagulls teammate, Ben Crawford, told The Northern Star they were "very proud" of their friend.
"Mitch is very humble," Crawford said.
"He will always come down here when he's in town to watch some games and encourage the players."