“THIS is definitely the best job in the world.”
From laying carpet to playing in front of more than 50,000 screaming Bluebaggers at the MCG, life has definitely changed for Michael Gibbons in 2019.
Having been overlooked in six consecutive drafts, the dual J. J. Liston Trophy winner finally received his chance to prove himself at the top level after receiving the life-changing call from Carlton during pre-season.
Once he was on the list, the 23-year-old set himself the modest goal of playing in just one AFL game for the season. Twenty-one games later, he has not only eclipsed his own goal: he has also repaid the faith shown by Blues’ recruiters.
“I remember getting the late call-up, not knowing whether I’d get a spot on the list,” Gibbons said.
“My goal last year was to play just one game. I said that I’d be happy with that, then I was lucky enough to get 21 of the 22.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to the Club for giving me the opportunity and giving me a second chance next year.”
Gibbons had to balance the step-up to the AFL as well as new on-field role: a star midfielder during his VFL career, he was given the task of adjusting himself as a small forward.
While the transition was difficult at times for the new Blue, it was one he fully embraced. Shaking off a slow start, Gibbons would finish the season with 16 goals while averaging 14.7 disposals per game.
Despite feeling more comfortable in his new role, Gibbons still has aspirations to spend more time in the Blues’ midfield in 2020.
“It was definitely a different role for me this year adapting to up forward,” he said.
“I guess at the start of the year I started a bit slower than I would have liked, just because I was learning the craft. It was definitely more difficult than I expected.
“Once ‘Teaguey’ took over, and gave me a bit more freedom around the ball here and there, that was massive for me. That’s where I play best footy.
“Coming into the pre-season next year, I’ll fight for a spot in there.”
Gibbons was rewarded for his impressive debut season, offered a one-year contract extension which will see him remain in the Navy Blue until at least the end of the 2020 season.
Quickly becoming a favourite among both the playing group and the fans, the energetic small forward will certainly feel more comfortable as he approaches his second year in the Navy Blue.
“This is definitely the best job in the world. I haven’t had a bad day coming into work yet,” Gibbons said
“I’ve had the highs and the lows throughout the year obviously. I guess coming in everyday and getting to see your mates, kicking the footy, and getting better is not too bad.”