IT WAS a special jumper swap at the time, but it’s even more poignant now.
Following his own final game, Bryce Gibbs swapped his guernsey with long-time friend and teammate Kade Simpson.
Gibbs knew this would be his last chance to get a jumper from Simpson, with his friend confiding in him that this would also be his final season playing AFL.
“I spoke to Kade [Simpson] the week before basically to tell him that I was going to retire and give him the heads up and he said ‘While I’ve got you here, I might as well fill you in’,” Gibbs said.
“I was a little bit shocked and a little bit sad but what he’s done for the footy club, continually putting his body on the line, his professionalism — he’s been such a special player for a long time and I’m going to certainly miss watching him run around out there.”
From teammates to opponents, Gibbs saw both sides of ‘Simmo’, noting he was unsurprisingly a very tough opposition player.
“Leading into some of the games I played against him, there was a lot of banter during the week but there were no friendships out there for the two hours you were playing against him,” he said.
“That ‘white-line fever’, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone emotionally in the game as much as ‘Simmo’: when you’re playing against him, he’s certainly a tough opponent.”
The respective No.6s swapped jumpers after the Round 17 clash between Carlton and Adelaide.
Gibbs said he will treasure the guernsey he received from Simpson, but was still figuring out what to do with it — after a wash of course.
“I’m just trying to get the ‘grippo’ off it, it’s that thick that he wears on gameday,” he said.
“I might get him to sign it and whack it up on the wall, it was a special one to get.”