Like most of the bouncers in town, Bobby Lee was an ageing boxer, but was as tough as they come. He was the muscle on the door at Thommo's, the illegal two-up game held in secrecy in Surry Hills in Sydney's inner city. It was owned by Joe Taylor - 'The Boss', as everyone called him. In May 1951, Bobby Lee was shot five times. He didn't survive. Jack Gibson got his job.
'Big Jack' was the original supercoach, but before that he was one of the toughest men in Sydney. It was there for all to see as a brutal front-row forward for Easts, Newtown and Wests during the 1950s and 1960s. As a coach, he was a revolutionary, adopting methods from American football and innovating heavily in his own right to win back-to-back premierships with Eastern Suburbs in 1974 and 1975, and then three with Parramatta from 1981 to 1983-giving the Eels their first ever premiership win.
Yet behind his gruff exterior and trademark kangaroo fur coat was a generous and warm family man, whose life was changed forever by the death of his son Luke from a drug overdose. With the cooperation of Jack's family and friends, and unprecedented access to Jack's scrapbooks, journals and private photographs, Andrew Webster has written the definitive account of the 'Coach of the Century', Jack Gibson.