Gibbs' AFL milestone marks Blues' climb - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gibbs' AFL milestone marks Blues' climb

By Robert Grant 09/06/2011 05:39:00 PM Comments (0)

Bryce Gibbs' career at Carlton got off to an odd start and now, five years later, he has become the Blues' most effective on-field odd-job man.

Ahead of his 100th game against Brisbane on Sunday, Gibbs recalled his unusual initiation and the relief as the side transformed from the depths of the ladder to finalists.

The 22-year-old was the No.1 overall pick in the 2006 national draft and, to his surprise, was conscripted into the leadership group before he had even played a match.

Gibbs now has proved himself one of Carlton's most valuable weapons, excelling in one-on-one contests and switching effortlessly between the midfield and defence.

And he is durable, having played 99 of a possible 100 games since his debut, missing just one in 2008.

"I've had a pretty good run," Gibbs said.

"But, reflecting back now there were probably a couple of games in my first year where I struggled - maybe being at a bottom club, they played a lot of the younger guys to give them the experience.

"Maybe if I'd been at a team that was higher on the ladder I might have found myself playing some twos here and there."

The Blues have steadily improved in Gibbs' time at the club, but he predicts bigger things to come.

"We're getting that winning culture back where we expect now to take opportunities and take the club back to where it was 10 or 20 years ago," he said.

"We've taken improvement steps each year and we'll continue to do that.

"We've been in the finals mix and we're really aiming to win a final this year."

Gibbs admitted he found it tough being slotted straight into the leadership group without having proved himself.

"It was an interesting one," he said. "At the time I didn't really know how to handle it.

"Obviously when you first come into a club you want to earn the respect of your teammates and I found it was a bit hard to swallow.

"I just took it as an opportunity to learn, I didn't have really anything to say in that year in meetings and so on. I just sat there and took it all in. It was a big learning curve."

Despite the lure of big money from new clubs, Gibbs seems already to have made up his mind to stay a Blue.

"I'd love to be a one-club player and I think a lot of players would aspire to be one-club players," he said.

"If that was the opportunity in front of me I'd love to."

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