A reward for perseverance – Brisbane City winger Alex Gibbon’s rapid rugby rise

Alex Gibbon in action for the Queensland Reds earlier this year. Image: QRU Media

Alex Gibbon in action for the Queensland Reds earlier this year. Image: QRU Media

Gibbon in action for Brisbane City last weekend. Image: QRU Media

Gibbon in action for Brisbane City last weekend. Image: QRU Media

rugby.com.au: I’ve been lucky enough to interview and chat with lots sportspeople in this line of work, but few have struck me as much as Brisbane City winger Alex Gibbon did this week. As we worked our way through his rugby life, and how he made potentially life-changing but completely rational decisions along the way, one constant thought was in mind: this kid is far more worldly and switched on than your average 24-year-old.

The backstory of Alex Gibbon is reasonably well known in rugby circles: he and his brother grew up on their grandparent’s NSW north coast farm with his cerebral palsy-afflicted mother, having escaped their abusive, but mentally-challenged father as Alex entered high school.

This isn’t a re-telling of that story, but rather the incredibly inspiring rugby story that has come from that far-from-idyllic upbringing…

The Australian way in urgent need of upskill

Scott Fardy looks to offload for the Brumbies. This has generally been a rare event for any of the Australian teams in 2016. Image: ABC Grandstand

Busy times of late – I’ve still been writing, just haven’t really had the time to post. But I’m back on the horse, so to speak, resuming with today’s column for The Roar

There’s no two ways about it, that was a rough weekend of rugby results for the Australian team.

The stat trotted out on Saturday night was that this was the first time since April 2005 that all five Australian teams have lost in the same weekend, but it’s much, much worse than that.

It’s the first time in the history of the universe that all five Australian teams have lost in the same weekend!

And one common element in the five Australian losses, was a chronic lack of second-phase play. Offloads were occasional events, rather than distinct plans, as the Australian players across the weekend hit the ball up directly into defensive walls with no real intent to look sideways…

The June Internationals talking points: Everyone gets a bench spot

England coach Eddie Jones has thrown down a defensive gauntlet to the Wallabies ahead of the 2nd Test in Melbourne. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: The first weekend of international rugby down this neck of the woods has resulted in two results that two countries were kind of dreading.

But if anything, the Wallabies and Springboks’ losses have really added some spice to this second weekend of Tests; try and imagine the build-up if England and Ireland were touched up last weekend.

As a result, the anticipation for the Tests in Melbourne and Johannesburg is far more pronounced, which will, in turn, be matched by the level of nervousness of the respective supporters.

It’s another big weekend of international rugby, and here are the talking points for the weekend’s fixtures.

Yes, there were Australian positives from the weekend

Brumbies winger Joe Tomane celebrates his three tries against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday night. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: It’s easy to lay the boot into the Australian teams currently; almost becoming a sport in itself as we are left mesmerised by the exquisite skill of the New Zealand teams and simultaneously bewildered by that of the locals.

But, if you were prepared to look for it, there was actually a fair bit to be happy about from the four Australian sides in action over the weekend. That’s not to say they were all brilliant; far from it. Three of the four teams lost, obviously, and the three losses were all pretty disappointing, on the whole.

The criticism of the Australian teams has been emanating for a few weeks now, and has been hard to ignore. And of course, the more you read it, the more you believe it; the more you believe it, the more you look for it…