NORTHERN Rivers rugby league duo Mitchell Aubusson and Martin Kennedy had a year of mixed fortunes in the NRL and eventually became rehabilitation partners in the casualty ward.
They both played in the 2010 Sydney Roosters grand final team and most experts were predicting big things for the pair on the representative scene this season.
Aubusson, a former Ballina junior, made the 51-man Blues-in-waiting camp in January and was 18th man for Country in the City versus Country game in May.
Lismore-born Kennedy also made the Queensland emerging Origin squad.
He is eligible for the Maroons after playing his first representative football with Queensland as a 17-year-old.
Kennedy was earmarked as a State of Origin bolter after a stellar opening two months playing front row.
However, Aubusson (shoulder reconstruction) and Kennedy (ankle) became rehab partners after they both suffered season-ending injuries heading into their round 10 clash against the Cronulla Sharks.
"It's pretty ironic, we both got injured around the same time," Aubusson said.
"We spent plenty of time together and it was good to have someone like Martin there with me.
"It was the first serious injury I've ever had, so I didn't really know what to expect."
Aubusson admits the off-field drama with Todd Carney affected the team as it finished 11th on the ladder.
"It's not ideal and those sorts of distractions obviously affect the team," he said.
Aubusson believes it is unlikely his older brother James will return to the NRL.
James left the Roosters at the end of 2010 to work in real estate and take up a captain-coach position with the Goulburn Bulldogs.
"He is the happiest I've seen him (James) in years," Aubusson said.
"His team made it to the semi-finals and I don't think they were expected to go that well.
"He told me he has no interest in playing in the NRL again."
Mitchell Aubusson returns to pre-season training on November 7.