Brothers James and Mitchell Aubusson. Photo: Wolter Peeters
HE WALKED away from the NRL at just 24 and is about to watch his younger sibling Mitch play a second grand final.
But the only thing Goulburn Bulldogs coach James Aubusson would change is a chance to play alongside his brother in the 2010 decider.
James played 10 games in his final NRL season with the Roosters, but was overlooked for the grand final loss to the Dragons.
James, older brother Nathan and parents Lyn and Brian will be in the ANZ Stadium stands as Mitch looks to bury his 2010 demons against Manly on Sunday.,
The former hooker remembers watching the 2010 grand final feeling a mixture of personal disappointment and a will for his brother and mates to do well.
Despite a $100,000 offer from North Queensland, James pulled the pin on his career because of a litany of injuries and the return of Jake Friend, who has since established himself as an elite No.9.
''I guess it will be strange. I'll be taking a different outlook to it this weekend, just supporting Mitch and only worrying about his role,'' he said.
''We definitely want a good result to go their way and I think they really deserve it this year … 2010 was bittersweet because you want to see them succeed, but you also want to be out there.
''But I certainly don't have any regrets. I had six operations on my lower body and I was sick of being sore and tired all the time.''
He senses Mitch is more at ease than he was three years ago, when he was a ball of nerves.
''After you understand what it feels like to lose, it just makes you better for the run,'' James said.
''I was just saying to dad I think Mitch is more relaxed and happy, which is a good sign.''
Mitch is likely to play on the Roosters' left side, and be given the task of helping shut down Manly's star centre Jamie Lyon.
He may be biased, but James believes Mitch's contribution to the minor premiers is underrated because of his star teammates.
But that suits the low-key Mitch just fine.
''His partner was into him the other night for not updating his Facebook post for three years,'' James said.
''He just does his job out there and I think he is underrated.
''When guys like Sonny Bill Williams and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are playing extraordinary footy, you get lost in that picture, I guess.''