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Michael Hobbs: It's tough to understand dad's not here anymore

Published: 11:44AM Saturday April 14, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

Blues rugby player and Jock Hobbs' son Michael Hobbs today spoke about his family's struggle to come to terms with his passing last month after a long battle with leukaemia.

Hobbs spoke with TV ONE's Breakfast, providing an insight into his relationship with his famous dad and explaining how it was "tough" to deal with the pressures of the Blues struggling Super Rugby campaign with his father's advice.

"It's tough to understand that dad's not here anymore, he was always such a strong person, you never thought that anything would be able to get the better of him so it's been tough," the 24-year-old said.

"And especially around rugby with me, it was always the thing that dad and I had in common, so it's been a very interesting last couple of weeks trying to come to terms with it.

Hobbs said his Blues commitments had been a welcome distraction over the past month yet the rugby environment had also provided him with some strong reminders of his father and there were times when his absence was acutely apparent.

"It's been good being around the boys and having something to do and at the same time it's been quite tough because a lot of things that go on in the week.

"I'd call dad the night before a game and talk to dad the day of a game, and I don't have that now and that's when it becomes very apparent to me.

"I've had my moments over the past couple of weeks. Obviously the fact that our team isn't going too well either hasn't made it any easier.

"So it's been a big learning experience that's for sure."

When asked what advice his father would give to him regarding the Blues form slump, Hobbs said his dad, "was always a big believer in just giving everything that you had, and win, lose or draw, just making sure you came off the field with no regrets".

"We are going to need each other to get out of this. We are playing some good rugby in parts and we look amateurish in others so we need to stick together, keep working hard and hopefully those results will come."

Outpouring of support

Despite having the challenge of grieving in the public eye, Hobbs said he was overwhelmed and grateful for all the love and support the New Zealand public had given his family.

"It's been amazing the amount of support I've had and the amount of love we've received from people that have just stopped me on the street and wished me all the best.

"My family has appreciated that outpouring of support and I'm happy with where things are at and I just need to get stuck in and keep busy and do whatever I can to help my family and help my team get out of this rut that we're in."

With rugby being such a huge part of his family's life, Hobbs acknowledged his father's death had put things into perspective for him, particularly as his Blues side endures difficult times on and off the field.

"Losing dad did put it into perspective that it is only a sport, but in New Zealand it is also a sport that means a lot to a lot of people," he said.

"Everyone, Pat's under a lot of pressure, Kevvy (Mealamu) and a lot of the senior boys and also all of us, are under pressure to perform because we are underperforming at the moment."

Treasured memories

Hobbs was able to smile when reflecting on his father's joy when the All Blacks won the World Cup and said the tournament had provided his family with some treasured memories of the man and his passion for the New Zealand game.

"Probably my favourite memory over the World Cup, obviously giving Richie's cap was an amazing moment, but after the final whistle when we had won it and they were introducing people before the medals were given out, they introduced dad over the loudspeaker and he got a massive applause.

"I could just see it in his face how much that meant to him. I was sitting with my three sisters and that got us quite emotional because we knew how hard he had worked for that - along with a lot of other people. I'm sure he'd want me to say that too.

Hobbs revealed the family had been forced to come to terms with their fathers illness long before he passed away, but said they were grateful they had the chance to speak from the heart and tell him all the things they wanted to say before he died.

"I flew home from South Africa, we had those few days where we all sat around as a family, and obviously dad couldn't communicate to us.

"But just saying whatever was on our mind, it was a very therapeutic process and being there when dad took his last breath, just little things like that certainly did help."

Hobbs felt the family were coping well in learning to adjust to life without their father and husband yet there were still occasions where emotions were still raw.

His younger sister celebrates her birthday today and Hobbs admitted their loss would again be strongly felt when the family gather to celebrate the occasion.

"Yeah my little sister Isabelle turns 18 today, so that will be an interesting day.

"I'm sure there will be emotion coming out there. The first celebration without dad being around so his absence will become very apparent again today."