FORMER Ballina Seagulls second-rower Mitchell Aubusson admits there wasn't enough for it to sink in when he was named captain of the Sydney Roosters in their round one clash against South Sydney on Monday night.
The 24-year-old was given the nod ahead of 2011 New South Wales State of Origin representatives Anthony Minichiello and Mitchell Pearce after regular captain Braith Anasta pulled out with a back injury early Monday morning.
"It's a big thing and when I got asked, I didn't think twice about it," Aubusson said.
"I captained the team in one of the pre-season trials so it was a complete shock, but I was still a little bit surprised when it actually happened.
"I'm happy to give it back to Braith though and finish up on one from one for now."
Aubusson suffered a season- ending injury after round 10 last season and was forced to have a shoulder reconstruction.
The Roosters looked dead and buried against South Sydney at 22-12 until front-rower Jared Waerea-Hargreaves scored under the posts in the 77th minute.
With one last throw of the dice the Roosters went out to the left and then back to the right where Aubusson put second-rower Boyd Cordner into a hole with him kicking on a beautifully timed kick for Minichiello to steal the 24-20 win
"It was a thrill just to be there, it's been a long time in between drinks for me," Aubusson said.
"I was lucky enough to get inside and lucky Boyd has a bit of pace.
"It's all a bit of a blur but the kick from Boyd had to be timed to perfection.
"There was only about 1cm in it and it could have gone either way.
"To be on the winning end of games like that is the reason you play footy."
The night didn't end there for Aubusson as he joined Casino-born coach Brian Smith in the post-game media conference.
"It was good to see how that all works," Aubusson.
"I didn't have to say much because Smithy has pretty much mastered it.
Aubusson was full of praise for the returning front-rower and Lismore-born Martin Kennedy.
Kennedy also missed the majority of last season with a broken foot and was solid in his first game back off the bench.
"He (Kennedy) has only been running again for about three weeks," Aubusson said.
"To have no pre-season and get straight back into like he did is unbelievable ... he will only get better."
Aubusson, 24, and Kennedy, 23, have already taken on senior player duties in the young Roosters team of 2012
The Northern Rivers pair find themselves in the club leadership group along with Anasta, Minichiello and Sam Perrett.
Aubusson and Kennedy will both look to stay injury-free after being earmarked for State of Origin selection this time last season.
"I'm not even thinking about it now, as long as we keep winning at the Roosters I'll be happy," Aubusson said.
"We've gone a bit under the radar in the off-season and I'm confident we can give it a crack."
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.