Like a true LEGEND


Above: Steig is one of our valued conference centre assistants at Figtree conference centre

During the May PreEmploy Recovery Day, some participants made a presentation about what motivated them. Steig’s talk was about Footy Legend Jack Gibson, who left an indelible mark on the world.

Steig is doing his work experience with Figtree Conference Centre, and by the sheerest coincidence, so too is his sister Kim! He does three days at Figtree and one day each fortnight at Surry Hills working on the “theory” of PreEmploy, if you like.

Jack Gibson turned out to be the perfect choice for motivational subject.

“The way he taught inspires me,” Steig told the group. “He taught people discipline. He taught that if someone starts a fight, you walk away. He said that the blokes who mouth off are the ones who can’t play.”

Jack Gibson was the legendary coach of Eastern Suburbs who led the Roosters to premierships in 1974 and 1975. Later, he coached Parramatta Eels who, after what seemed like an eternity with no premierships to their name, came up with three in a row in 1981, 1982 and 1983.

Jack Gibson and his assistants had a big workload because they took care of all three grades, rather than just first grade. After all, the lower grades would be providing the first grade players of the future. Likewise, Gibson didn’t want the younger players to be daunted when they finally made it to the top, so giving them a taste of what was in store makes a lot of sense. Jack Gibson was rightly called a super coach.

Gibson’s son Luke was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and also took drugs. This is a common combination, unfortunately, and more often than not it causes problems to escalate. Luke died in 1988, and Jack Gibson decided to go on the offensive against such tragedy by helping to found the Mental Health Sports Network, which aims to promote recovery through engagement with sport.

Jack Gibson developed Alzheimer’s disease towards the end of his life, and died a couple of hours before the 2008 Centenary of League match was due to kick off on the 9th May. As usual, Gibson’s timing was spot on, because it allowed the announcement of his passing away to be made to the crowd just before the match. So, in a way, the centenary match was also a remembrance of what Jack Gibson had done for the game – and beyond- as a true legend of sport.

When we asked Steig how he felt during the presentation, Steig said that he had been really nervous (and his sister Kim confirmed this) but those present “Played strong, done good,” as Jack Gibson would have said.

– WH


Jack Gibson (above) may have passed away eight years ago, but he’s still inspiring and motivating people…including Steig

Want to know more about Figtree Conference Centre?

Figtree Conference Centre
5 Figtree Drive
Sydney Olympic Park
NSW 2127
(02) 9393 9000


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