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There have been many great coaches throughout the history of rugby league, yet few whose names remain woven within the very tapestry of the game. These are the figures who become synonymous with the colours and the history of the clubs they led to the summit, premiership glory.  

It could be argued that thinkers like Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bennett fall into this category, having crafted long-lasting legacies across glittering careers, but fans and affiliates of the Sydney Roosters and Parramatta Eels share an adoration for a man many consider the true Supercoach, Jack Gibson.  

As a player, Gibson was a fearsome enforcer who kept the Eastern Suburbs competitive during a relatively difficult period. He donned the Red, White, and Blue a total of 123 times, and led the Club to a Grand Final birth in 1960, their first since 1945.  

However, his greatest exploits as a rugby league aficionado came after he hung up the boots. It was on the sidelines where his revolutionary coaching style overhauled traditional methods, instilling disciplines such as video analysis and strength and conditioning routines.  

Gibson’s first stint at the helm of the Roosters ended with consecutive semi-final appearances in 1967-68. He returned to the head coaching position in 1973 and quickly developed one of the most destructive and dominant sides in history.

Gibson's modernised coaching methods combined with the brilliance of legendary Captain Arthur Beetson, led the Roosters to famed back-to-back Premierships in 1974 and 1975, and in the process cemented the Super Coach’s status as a Tricolours’ hero. 

Gibson left the Roosters in 1976 having returned the Club to glory after 29 long years in the wilderness.

After a short stint at rivals South Sydney, Gibson found himself back on top as coach of the Parramatta Eels in 1981. 

In just three seasons with the Eels, he led them to their inaugural premiership in 1981, before backing it up in 1982 and 1983, becoming the second Coach in history to go back-to-back with two different clubs. The first being former Easts coach, Arthur Halloway. 

Those in the blue and gold who envied him years previously, now worshipped him as the man who delivered them to the promised land.

It is Gibson's legacy for both these historic clubs that makes the Jack Gibson Cup such a significant contest in the NRL.  

After his passing in 2008 at the age of 79, the Jack Gibson Cup was launched to commemorate Gibson's legendary exploits as one of the greatest coaches the game has ever seen.  

The Cup has been contested 13 times, being awarded to the side with the highest aggregate score across the matchups the two clubs have each season.  
After falling short by three points in 2022, the Roosters will look to regain the cup this weekend, heading into the contest leading by eight points on aggregate after their 28-20 victory over the Eels in Round 5. 

Since the Cup's inception, the Roosters have been successful eight times to Parramatta's five, with many classic games being fought out. Who could forget the Roosters 44-10 victory in 2018 to secure the Minor Premiership, or the golden point encounter in 2011 that ended in a famous Braith Anasta field goal.

With the Cup still in its early stages, one can only hope that between the Sydney Roosters and Parramatta Eels, the best clashes are still yet to come.

Perhaps one day his two beloved clubs can meet on a stage where Gibson loved to take them: the Grand Final! 

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.