Relieved Rooster: Second-rower Mitchell Aubusson. Photo: Jonathan CarrollMitchell Aubusson’s foray into grand final folklore might not be remembered forever.
However, had the final result been different, Aubusson’s decision to tackle Jamie Lyon without the ball would have been spoken about long after he conceded a penalty try in what was a vital stage of this year’s premiership decider. The back-rower could afford to smile post-game after his side fought back to overcome Manly on Sunday night.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking there,” Aubusson said of watching the incident on the big screen. “It probably wasn’t the best thing to do. I did whatever I had to do to try and stop a try. I tried to pull out of it. That sort of stuff isn’t normally in my game. In the heat of the moment, it happened.”
Aubusson became just the third player to concede a penalty try in a grand final, joining St George Illawarra’s Jamie Ainscough and Parramatta’s John Peard. While Ainscough’s swinging arm on a falling Craig Smith handed Melbourne their first premiership in 1999, the other two didn’t cost their sides a grand final.
St George’s John Bailey was awarded a penalty try in the replayed 1977 grand final after he was tackled by Peard, much like Lyon was, as he attempted to regather a kick.
Aubusson supported the video referees’ decision to award a penalty try to Lyon, who was chasing a Daly Cherry-Evans kick three minutes after half-time, with Manly snatching the lead.
“It was probably fair that they were awarded a penalty try,” Aubusson said. “I sort of tried to forget about it. It is what it is and the boys were supportive and picked me up. We got back into the game, I just couldn’t be happier. I know that I put the work in through the year and something like that is not in my game. It was something I knew I had to fight back from and all the boys helped me with that. When I went to lunge at him I then tried to pull out of it.
“I’m not relieved, just excited and happy. Not just about [the premiership] but it’s about the hard work we’ve put in since last October and the last eight years.”
Aubusson was among seven survivors from the club’s 2010 premiership loss to St George Illawarra. Ironically, the Roosters led 8-6 at half-time in 2010 and on Sunday. Aubusson said the said the pain of that premiership loss had now vanished.
“You would think about that game once or twice a year and think what could have been but to win just for the fans and our families and all the boys is sensational,” Aubusson said. “We’ve worked so hard, One thing Robbo [coach Trent Robinson] did say when he got here was that we were going to work harder than any other team. I felt we did that. He told us at half-time to go back to what we do and know and that we’ve been in this position before and that we can win from anywhere.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.