South Adelaide have landed the signing of Carlton and Adelaide AFL star Bryce Gibbs.
The number 1 pick of the 2006 National Draft, Gibbs will take his services to South Adelaide, after many thought he would return to his home SANFL club, Glenelg.
Gibbs will also take on a role with the club within its underage talent programs.
As Player Development Manager, Gibbs will work closely with Talent Manager and Under-18 Coach Mark Clayton in the developing and mentoring of footballers in the club's talent pathway and throughout its Southern zone.
This will include the Great Southern Football League, where his father Ross played seven seasons with Victor Harbor.
Gibbs made his debut for Carlton in Round 1, 2007, where he would play 231 games before returning to South Australia at the end of 2017, where he played 36 games for the Crows.
Bryce Gibbs said he was excited about the position the club is in.
"I'm very excited, I still think I've got a lot to give in leadership and to come to a club that has a good mix of seasoned SANFL players and youth, it was a really good fit," Gibbs said.
"I think the club is in a really good position, obviously had a pretty strong finals campaign last season. I feel as a player I can add to the group and can hopefully take us to the next step and that's to make and win a Grand Final."
Gibbs hoped to be able to help fast track the development of the kids, who have the desire of playing senior footy at South and who also have aspirations to play AFL.
"I've build some really good skills and experience over my 14-year career, and I think it would have been a waste if I had stepped away from this level of footy, as I can pass on these skills and knowledge to these young players," he said.
Gibbs said he wanted to find the love for the game again.
"Speaking to Matt (Broadbent), he found the love for footy again after a tough couple of years at the end of his AFL career, he really enjoyed the enthusiasm and energy that the kids brought," Gibbs said.
"That was certainly very appealing and I can relate to Matt, not through the injury side, but the last couple years of my AFL career had it's ups and downs and challenges.
"What I got out of that was that I want to enjoy my footy a bit more and South Adelaide will give me the opportunity to do that. Really looking forward to meeting all the boys once we come out of lockdown."
The silky midfielder/half-back won the John Nicholls Medal as Carlton's best and fairest player in 2014 and achieved top-five finishes in eight of his 11 seasons at Princes Park.
In his debut season he also took home the Blues Best First Year Player award in 2007.
Gibbs captained SA's Under-16 team and played in the National Under-18 Championships, earning All Australian honours.
Over the 2018 off-season, Gibbs married his long-term partner Lauren Tscharke. The pair have a son named Charlie and a daughter named Madison.
Senior coach Jarrad Wright said that this was part of the process to help strengthen the Panthers midfield and also help develop the Panthers youth with his playing experience.
"It's exciting for our club to be able to attract a player of Bryce's experience and calibre," Wright said.
"We were the second youngest league team in the competition throughout season 2020 and we had seven players under the age of 20 in our preliminary final side.
"Bryce will play a huge role in the development of our youth, but also add the experience and class to the midfield we need to take us another step forward in 2021."
Bryce Gibbs - SA Under-16 Captain, National Under-18 Championships, All Australian, Pick 1, 2006 National Draft, 231 games for Carlton 2007-2017, 36 games for Adelaide 2018-2020, 152 goals, John Nicholls Medal 2014, Best First Year Player 2007.