Sydney Roosters back-rower Mitch Aubusson has done a mighty job filling the boots of suspended superstar Sonny Bill Williams.
He’s no Sonny Bill Williams, but the Sydney Roosters wouldn’t swap classy back-rower Mitch Aubusson for anyone.
Aubusson has done a mighty job for the NRL premiers filling in for the suspended Williams and will once against start in the New Zealand superstar’s absence in Friday night’s grand final rematch with Manly at Allianz Stadium.
Normally a supersub off the bench, the 27-year-old has delivered two barnstorming 80-minute efforts to help the Roosters to impressive back-to-back wins after a first-round loss to South Sydney.
The unsung back-rower crossed for two tries, set up another and made three line breaks, eight tackle breaks and 20 tackles against Parramatta before backing up with a game-high 45 tackles against Brisbane last Friday night.
NSW State of Origin halfback Mitchell Pearce has enjoyed a telepathic understanding with Aubusson since their junior days almost a decade ago and says the former Australian schoolboy representative’s value to the Roosters can’t be overstated.
“He’s played nearly 150 first-grade games, two grand finals and he hardly gets a wrap, Mitch,” Pearce told AAP.
“I’ve played with Aubs since I was 16, in schoolboy games. I’ve known him for a long time and he’s such a good player.
“Obviously he doesn’t have the flair that a guy like Sonny has, not many do.
“But every time he steps in, and even when he plays week in, week out, he never misses tackles and he’s got such an x-factor.
“He’s got great feet and runs as good a line as anyone.”
With dual international Williams returning to rugby union in 2015, prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves said Roosters fans need not fret about the premiers’ back-row stocks with Aubusson and Blues Origin star Boyd Cordner on the club’s books.
“Sonny on the right side is Sonny but Mitchell, he’s been superb for us on that right side in Sonny’s absence,” Waerea-Hargreaves said.
“What can I say? He’s not big at all. He’s a great defender and a great hole runner and he’s been great for us.”