Saturday, 10 May 2008

Vale Jack Gibson (AM)

Australia, his wife Judy and family and the world rugby league community mourn the death of Jack Gibson, one time player of the game and all time Supercoach. Jack Gibson played 154 first grade games and first started in 1953 with Eastern Suburbs which is now known as Sydney Roosters.

He began his first-grade NSWRL coaching career at Eastern Suburbs in 1967, the year previously they had not won a match, he took them to the semi-finals that year and once again in 68'. He then left Easts to join St George, taking them to the 1971 Premiership Grand Final. On leaving the Dragons he linked up with Newtown where he enjoyed immediate success taking out the Wills pre-season Cup tournament and helping the foundation club to its only club championship. Upon re-joining Easts he led the team to back-to-back premiership titles in (1974, 1975). After leaving Easts' Gibson endured the leanest spell of his career failing to get South Sydney Rabbitohs as far as the semi-finals in his time at the club, Gibson then linked with Parramatta leading them to their most successful era in their history. Gibson guided the club to their first ever premiership title in 1981. The Eels went on to win the competition for another two years (1982, 1983). The 1983 title took Gibson's personal Grand Final wins tally to five, making him the then joint-most successful coach in Australian premiership history. On 17 April 2008, Gibson was selected as Coach of Australian rugby league's Team of the Century. Part of the code's centenary year celebrations in Australia, the elite team is the panel's majority choice for those considered to be the best of all time.

National Rugby League chief executive David Gallop said every player and coach in the game was a beneficiary of Gibson's career.

"Jack's philosophy was to build the club from the front office to the playing field and to develop men, not just footballers," he said.

The Order of Australia medal for services to rugby league as a coach was awarded to Jack in 1988 and he retired in 1990. Jack was often sought out by players, coaches and news hounds for advice and opinions or even one of his quotes for which he was well known for.

In 2003 Gibson launched his book The Last Word which featured his recollections, wisdom and his favourite quotations. When asked if the book ould be the last of his work, Jack was quoted as saying, "No I think I've still got a movie in me."

In 2004 Jack took great pride in taking part in the 2004 Olympic Torch Relay when it was in Sydney.

Gibson was confined to a nursing home requiring 24 hour around the clock care as he waged a battle; which eventually took his life, with alzheimers disease and dementia.

Jack Gibson passed away only 90 minutes before Australia took on New Zealand in the Centenary Test last night at the Sydney Cricket Ground, no doubt he would of been watching from above and cheering the guys on.


Lil Jimmy said...

"Jack's philosophy was to build the club from the front office to the playing field and to develop men, not just footballers," he said.

There are some people who stand head and shoulders above the rest and he was one of them. Vale.

Nunyaa said...

He will be sadly missed .

Lil Jimmy said...

Nunyaa - did you by any chance see this? Vics defeat every other state. Wow. :)

Nunyaa said...

Oh really that is aerial ping pong, tut. You should know better. That isn't the code of football Jack was associated with. The Mexicans have to be good at something :-)