Emotional Gibbs with a case of the Blues
Bryce Gibbs’ first media conference as an Adelaide player went for eight minutes. The first five of those were spent giving an emotional farewell to Carlton, where he played 231 games over 11 seasons.
The moment the deal finally went through, he admitted to shedding a few tears. Not just because of his happiness that his desire to return to South Australia had become a reality, but because he was saying goodbye to a different type of family – his teammates.
“Once it was a done deal, it hit home a little bit,” he said. “I usually don’t get too emotional but it pulled on a couple of heart strings and it was all a reality.”
Two of the first few calls went to long-time Blues brothers Marc Murphy and Kade Simpson.
“Probably the hardest conversations were to a couple of my teammates. I’m starting to get a bit emotional even talking about it now.
“I mean, I’ve been there for 11 years, it’s been my family ??? I’ll be forever grateful for the Carlton Football Club for giving me the opportunity
“As disappointed as [my Carlton teammates] were, they were the first to pass on congratulations and support.
“It’s going to be sad to leave. Carlton is a very special place to me and it will be forever.”
It’s second-time lucky for Gibbs, who tried to return home last year but the trade eventually broke down after Carlton refused to part with him for anything less than two first-round draft picks.
Twelve months on and the Blues got their deal, which meant Adelaide got their man.
Gibbs, the true professional that he is, went back to Princes Park last year and had one of his career-best seasons, carrying the majority of the load in the Carlton midfield, particularly after injuries to Patrick Cripps and Ed Curnow in the second half of the season.
“My original thought was I’ve just got to move on,” he said. “I can’t be looking 12 or 24 months in advance.
“I went back with a good attitude, I thought ‘Head down, bum up’, tried to train my bum off. The club was fantastic in terms of the way they handled the transition back in.
“It was like I never left, which I didn’t,” he smiled.
This time around, however, things were handled very differently. Unlike last year, when the Crows and Gibbs camp were very public about his desire to return home, this year it’s all been done in private.
All parties admit there was genuine fear the deal would fall through for the second year in a row.
“I thought it was more unlikely to happen than happen,” Gibbs said.
“After how it all played out last year I was pretty wary to put myself and put my club in that [position] again and for a deal not to be worked out again.
“Before I made that decision to ask to be traded back home, I wanted to make sure it was 95, 96 per cent sure that all parties could get a fair and reasonable trade out of it.
“I’m just grateful that Carlton was able to listen to my request. I certainly want to thank them again for listening to me and giving me the opportunity to help me with this move.”
The move means Carlton are extremely well armed for this year’s draft and still have a strong hand in 2018.
The Blues also get Greater Western Sydney’s Matthew Kennedy and Geelong’s Darcy Lang through the door, both of whom have their supporters and their critics.
Both are inside midfielders and will help Murphy and Cripps, but the Blues midfield will be worse off without the class and skill of Gibbs.
One man joining Gibbs at West Lakes is the surprised and overjoyed Sam Gibson, who was delisted by North Melbourne and thought his AFL dream was over.
It’s been a whirlwind 10 days for the 31-year-old, who’s gone from playing 130 consecutive games, to being delisted, to being picked up by this year’s grand finalists.
“To be honest, I didn’t even think a trade was an option until two days ago,” Gibson said.
“I got contacted by Don [Adelaide coach Don Pyke] on Tuesday and from there it just all happened really quickly.”
Gibson admitted he was unsure what the rules were heading into the last few days of the trade period.
“Ultimately, I’m still under contract now and that ability to transfer that contract was something that was beneficial for both the Crows and myself,” he said.
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