May 10, 2018 by admin
My prankster: Vanessa Gibbs relaxes with husband Bryce and their border collie, Ollie. Pictures: Lisa McMahon Clear waters: A happy Bryce Gibbs loves travelling the Bundeena ferry.
CAN you imagine a tough prop forward taking a laxative before every game?
Or playing bowls each Friday — lawn bowls at that — or using a hair-removal product on his scalp and wondering why he broke out in a dreadful rash?
The enigmatic Bryce Gibbs, of course, isn’t just your ordinary rugby league player.
The 27-year-old is a real comic odd-bob, who doesn’t stop surprising his Cronulla Sharks teammates, family or friends.
The only time they’re safe from the Sharks’ No. 1 prankster is when he’s catching the ferry and then safely tucked away on his “island” — at home with wife Vanessa, their two children Khy, 6, and Amity, 4 and their dog Ollie, at Bundeena.
Gibbs is a paradox.
He loves the almost-serene stillness of his hideaway home nestled off the mainland — “I can’t imagine never living here, it’s just paradise” — a home the couple bought after he was offloaded from the Wests Tigers at the end of last season and joined the Sharks.
Yet he’s the first to party, pester and show off when he’s around “the boys”.
“Bryce has always been the practical joker, ever since I first met him as a 15-year-old at school,” said Vanessa. “He and his old Tigers’ teammates, like Liam Fulton, used to run full-pelt at each other with medicine balls and really belt each other at training.
“He and Liam remain the best of mates.
“Even now with the new iPhones, they will ring me or someone like the local butcher, and then pretend it is you who is supposed to be making the call.
“In a three-way conversation you do get very confused.”
It was no surprise Sharks captain Paul Gallen was the first of his new teammates to “taste” Gibbsy’s humour in the off season.
“I found out Gal just hates anything creepy or slimy,” Gibbs laughed.
“So I asked Vanessa to buy me a large fish.”
It was never going to be given to Gallen to eat, of course.
Rather, it turned up suddenly as a smelly, nasty surprise when the skipper opened his locker!
Andrew Fifita, who joined his former Tiger teammate at the Sharks this year, said Gibbs rarely showed any fear, either on or off the field.
“I remember once someone daring him to swim from one side of Kiama to the other, and we didn’t really know how many sharks or other things were hanging around,” said Fifita.
“Gibbsy didn’t think about it too long. He just threw himself in and swam there and back.”
A serial social networking pest, he recently realised he had acquired quite a Twitter following — and naturally began boasting about it.
Unknown to him, Sharks teammate Jeremy Smith had decided to get one back on Gibbs through his own practical joke: he decided to “buy” more than 30,000 Twitter followers and have Gibbs think they were real ones.
“Ha, but I do have about 37,000 followers now,” said Gibbs, whose antics with Fulton have the Twitter followers in stitches.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan describes Gibbs as a “bit of a maniac”, but one who he is glad to have, “especially in the tension that is a full-time training environment,” he said.
Gibbs has also proved one of the team’s most reliable forwards, and as a premiership winner (with the 2005 West Tigers) with 10 years in the NRL, he provides Flanagan and the team with invaluable experience up front, along with the likes of Gallen, Smith and Ben Ross.
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