Fitting tribute to one-of-a-kind player taken too soon
AARON Parry remembers the call like it was yesterday - the news his best mate, colleague and teammate had died in a tragic holiday crash.
The death of Jacob Mabb hit Aaron and the entire Sunshine Coast community, like a runaway train.
Days before his fateful trip to Bali, Aaron remembered listening to the excitement Jacob had of the trip.
As tragedy struck, it turned to tears.
Less than a week after Jacob died, Aaron inked a lasting tribute to his mate.
Lyrics from Powderfinger's Sunsets are now etched on his bicep, complete with Jacob's name and birth and death dates.
"Sunsets over the beaches from now on" it reads.
"We played it at his memorial too, it's just a special song to the both of us," Aaron said.
"It was his favourite song and we'd sing it at kick-ons together.
"Getting the tattoo was hard at the time but I never want the memory to fade."
Aaron recalled Jacob's astonishing skills on the field half in jealousy, half in admiration.
"Mabby always enjoyed a beer more than he did training.
It was actually annoying, we would train our backsides off and he wouldn't but still rock up and carve," he laughed.
"He'd find excuses to skip training too, but when he showed up he'd go full on.
"He was just this athletic freak, when he'd line up, the opposition were shaking in their boots.
"Aggressive and a mongrel but very quick too. And so fair. He was one hell of a player."
Aaron and his USC Rugby team mates turned to each other without Jacob - able to share their pain as one.
On Saturday they will honour Jacob's memory in their first home of the season in a "bittersweet" occasion.
"Some days are pretty rough," he said.
"I saw him for 10 hours a day, then suddenly nothing.
"We have to move on though and we are. Sitting in doom and gloom is the last thing Jacob would want.
"I can tell you there's going to be so much emotion in this game.
"We're going to play the same we he (Jacob) did. I wouldn't want to play us."