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Girl Talk

Thanks Big Jack

The world has strange ways of reminding us how much originality needs to be appreciated.

Last night rugby league lost one of its true originals in Jack Gibson, who coached my beloved Parramatta Eels to premierships in 1981, 1982 and 1983.

One of the many tributes to Jack and all he achieved can be found here.

It was Gibson's turn of phrase and the way he looked after his players that made him stand out as a coach. He once told Peter Sterling to "kick towards the seagulls".

Sterlo was confused and probably thought his mentor was being way too cryptic and speaking in riddles.

He worked it out soon enough. If you kicked towards where the seagulls were on the ground - there would be no opposition players around.

The working rugby league press of the day devoted many column inches to how potent Sterlo's kicking game truly was.

Sometimes choosing a less conventional method of telling someone something makes us remember the lesson we are being taught even more.

Big Jack not only built footballers he built men as the biographies of many of his players are littered with tales of players who were struggling in the world away from league and Jack stepping in to make sure the bloke had a real day job and was then able to concentrate on his league responsibilities stress free.

Again a lesson taught so subtly by Jack that today's administrators would do well to remember.

So to you Jack Gibson, I say thank you teaching us even we when might not have known we were being taught and most of all thank you for being you - quirky phrases, free spirit and all.