Lussick vows to play on despite tragedy
After each game that her son played, Christy Lussick would send Darcy messages telling him he was not only the best player on the field but also the "most handsome".
Those are the messages the Manly prop will miss most after he somehow put the grief of his mother's passing on Wednesday to one side to play his heart out for the Sea Eagles on Saturday night against the Broncos.
Showing bravery even greater to that required to throw yourself into the heart of opposition forward packs week after week, Lussick gave an open and emotional interview to the media in the immediate aftermath of his side's 30-6 loss to Brisbane.
It was a request made by journalists in hope rather than expectation but the 26-year-old handled it as he does his work on the football field; head held high and front on.
Christy was just 15 years of age when she gave birth to Darcy in Manly in 1989 and after battling an illness for the past two years passed away on Wednesday at just 42.
When Darcy began playing rugby league with the Beacon Hill Bears it was his mum who encouraged him and he said that there was little doubt in his mind that playing for Manly on Saturday night was what she would have wanted.
"It wasn't really a tough decision. My mum loved me playing rugby league and she would have been filthy if I hadn't played," Lussick said.
"I wasn't going to sit at home and feel sorry for myself, I get nothing out of that, so come up here and be around the boys and they've been great.
"It was a tough week, a tough day on Wednesday for my whole family and I just thought it would be the right thing to do by my family, show that we'll get through it and they have been supportive of me."
Although Lussick expressed his desire to line up against the Sharks next weekend Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett said with Christy's funeral to be held on Wednesday he would be given all the support he needs at such a difficult time.
"He's a very strong person, Darcy, and very popular amongst our team so I thought it was a huge effort for him to be here and to play and then to play as well as he did," Barrett said.
"We're going to have to look after him now though. He's going to have a tough road ahead but he's got a lot of good friends here and we'll look after him."
As is the case for so many people the reality of his mother's passing may not truly sink in until she is laid to rest on Wednesday but on Saturday night Lussick was happy to reflect on a mother who saw no wrong in her son.
Sporting a cut above his left eye, Lussick joked that he wouldn't reveal the Broncos player who inflicted the damage in case "she tries to haunt him", before going through a phone full of messages that for the first time in his life had none from his mum.
"She would have been filthy about this happening tonight. She hated anything happening to my face," said Lussick, the eldest of the four Lussick siblings.
"Nothing was ever my fault on the field. It was always that the referees were picking on me or if another player was into me she wasn't happy with that player.
"She wouldn't really have a clue if I played good or bad but as long as I was doing my best I was the best player out there to her.
"I'll miss those text messages after a game."
A City Origin in Tamworth last weekend, Lussick said the outpouring of support he and his family have received over the past few days has reaffirmed to him why it is the greatest game of all.
"Rugby league seems to have a way of looking after their own. It doesn't matter who you support if someone's going through a tough time, supporters from other clubs might hate you on the field off the field they're really good," he said.
"That's the best thing about rugby league. I'm just so proud to be part of rugby league.
"I just want to thank everyone and my family would like to thank everyone as well."
Thank you so much to everyone who has sent me such nice messages from last night. I wish I could reply to every one of you. Thank you again.— Darcy Lussick (@D_LUSSICK) May 14, 2016