HE WAS pretty coy, but when it comes to 2019, Michael Gibbons put it best.
“It was definitely a whirlwind 12 months.”
Rewinding back to the first day of the year, Gibbons didn’t even have a spot on Carlton’s list.
He was as close as he ever had been, but there was still no confirmation that the two-time J.J. Liston Trophy winner would be getting his AFL chance.
With the players now on break heading into 2020, it’s pretty clear that Gibbons can look back on his year rather fondly.
Not only did he get his chance on an AFL list, he got his chance to play AFL footy for the first time: actually, for the first 21 times.
“I sat down with my manager on Thursday last week and it was literally 12 months to the day when I got the phone call from Carlton and walked off the job site,” Gibbons told Sportsday.
“It was disappointed to be injured for that last game — it would have been nice to play 22 of 22.
“I can’t be disappointed in the first year I had, especially given the way it all happened.”
Given the cut-and-thrust of the regular season, Gibbons said he only got the chance to reflect on the year that was on an off-season trip with his girlfriend.
Mentioning he was “stoked by the way it all happened”, that’s not to say Gibbons is resting on his laurels.
For the first time, he was part of an AFL pre-season from day one: and he’s liking what he’s seeing.
“I missed the first part of pre-season last year, but Andrew Russell said the lads are all going 20-30 per cent better off in everything they’ve done this year,” he said.
“That’s a good sign for us going forward. The running has definitely stepped up with the boys this year.”
Gibbons shared an insight into how pre-season is different under Senior Coach David Teague.
Teague - like Gibbons - is also embracing the new challenge of being in the full-time role from the outset.
“We’ve been doing a lot of skill-based drills,” he said.
“‘Teaguey’ is massive on getting your skills right and the rest can be worked on later.
“The boys have been training really well so far, it’s been good fun.”