With one-club man Mitch Aubusson suiting up for his 300th game on Thursday, five-eighth Luke Keary has branded the utility back-rower as one of the greatest to ever wear the red, white and blue.
In a list that boasts legendary names from Dally Messenger to Dave Brown to Ron Coote to Artie Beetson to modern greats like Anthony Minichiello, Brad Fittler, Luke Ricketson and Craig Fitzgibbon, it is high praise indeed.
On Thursday night Aubusson will become just the third Rooster behind Minichiello (302 games) and Ricketson (301) to rack up the triple century for the club.
“He’s one of the best people in rugby league I’ve come across in my time in the game,” Keary said on Sunday.
“The regard he’s held in around this club is right up the top. He’s not a very public person, he’s very private, cares about his family and friends, cares about this club.
“He’ll be held as one of the greatest to pull the Roosters jersey on and he’ll probably finish with the most amount of games. He’s held in very, very high regard around here.”
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Keary added it was wrong that Aubusson has never been selected for higher honours.
“It’s a travesty he’s never played State of Origin or for his country. Especially at the peak of his career, he’s one of the most consistent players that’s played our game,” Keary said.
Coming through at Souths, Keary had appreciated Aubusson from afar but only got a sense for how important he was to the club once he was part of the inner sanctum.
“Probably the thing people don’t get to see is his leadership around the club,” Keary said.
“What he does for the younger guys, what he does for people around him during training and off the field. He’s always making people better around him.
“You see the selflessness from the outside but from the inside it’s a lot more than you’d think.
“He’ll never force his opinion on you or anything but if you need help or he thinks you need something he’ll be the first person there to give you some advice or be an ear for you.
“It’s been easy that transition to a leadership role having him and [Jake] Friendy and Boyd [Cordner], Jared [Waerea-Hargreaves], those guys all come through the club at the same time, it’s a special time in the club and we’ve been lucky to have Mitchell there at the top through this last 10-12 years.”
From an under-rated back-rower to a superstar in the same position, Keary is excited to see Sonny Bill Williams return to Bondi.
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“He’s obviously a special player, what he’s done for rugby league and rugby union,” Keary said.
“We’re all looking forward to having him here in the next couple of weeks.
“When Sonny gets here it will be pretty cool for him and pretty cool for some of the younger boys who grew up watching him play get a chance to train and play with him.”