Aubusson excited by new Roosters stars
Sydney Roosters club captain Mitch Aubusson said while he was personally shattered to see close mate Mitchell Pearce depart the club, he is confident star recruits Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco can add a new dimension to the team.
Aubusson said Tedesco's first training session with the club last week was enough to prove to his teammates that the NSW Origin fullback looked sharp and would hit the ground running at his new club.
"We've got some class players coming in and we're excited to get them in," Aubusson told NRL.com.
"I haven't seen much of Coops obviously with the World Cup but I think he'll come in the new year. Teddy's first session was [Monday] so he looked really sharp coming in and I'm really looking forward to getting to know those guys.
"I've admired them from afar so it's going to be good to get to play alongside them.
"I do [see them adding a missing ingredient]. They're going to bring different styles to the guys that were there last year.
"The pressure's not all on them but they need to come with their own style of footy which I think we'll work out over the next few weeks but excited to have them in and seeing where we can take this team."
The downside though for Aubusson was having to part ways with long-time mate Pearce.
"From a personal point of view it was tough to see Pearcey go. He's a guy that I grew up playing with here, we debuted in the same year together and even played junior footy together," Aubusson said.
"From a personal level and as a mate it was a really tough time for myself and a few of the guys that have been here for a while but knowing Pearcey, he's gone there to take a role on at Newcastle.
"They're getting a great footy player and he's only going to improve the side and I obviously wish him all the best and we're still going to be mates but disappointed we couldn't finish out together but that's the way the NRL is."
Aubusson, Pearce and Shaun Kenny-Dowall made their Telstra Premiership debut for the Roosters in 2007, and each has at least 230 games in red, white and blue.
Pearce's departure came not too long after Kenny-Dowall left, also for the Knights, on a 2017 mid-season transfer, part of a changing of the guard in Trent Robinson's team.
"We were lucky enough to play 10-plus years together and a lot of people don't get that opportunity," Aubusson said.
"We never took that time for granted that we did have together but now the guys are off doing different things and it will be weird playing them but I wish them all the best for the rest of their careers."
Roosters co-captain Jake Friend – who broke into first grade the following year and has 211 NRL games for the club – is the only current player anywhere within reach of Aubusson's 239 matches for the Tricolours.
Last season he overtook Craig Fitzgibbon and Pearce to be third on the club's honour roll behind Anthony Minichiello (302) and Luke Ricketson (301).
"I didn't even know myself actually but it's something that I never take a game for granted at this place," Aubusson said.
"I want to put this jersey on as many times as I can before I finish up. I love the club and love the people in it and to be among those sort of guys (such as Minichiello and Ricketson) who have played so much footy for this club and who I grew up watching, it's really special.
"I'm a bit speechless actually, I didn't even know that was the case and I still feel like I've got a few games left in me too which is good."