Gubb is another Vodafone Warrior who cut his teeth on rugby union before switching codes. A Wellington College graduate, Charlie played in the schools’ First XV but switched to rugby league in 2008 and made his start in the Wellington club circuit with University Hunters. He was scouted by the Sea Eagles and Tigers but chose to keep his talents on this side of the Tasman, turning down their offers and instead signing with the Vodafone Warriors’ NYC squad in 2010. Gubb featured in 23 matches for the side and came off the bench in the grand final to help the team to its first premiership over South Sydney.
He relocated to Queensland following the 2010 season, after joining the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the Queensland Cup. Gubb was once again part of a title-winning side, as he played in their 2011 and 2012 grand final victories.
He was lured back to Auckland in 2013 when he was offered a pre-season contract. Hard work saw this extend into a fulltime contract and Charlie performed well in NSW Cup play, eventually earning his first NRL start against South Sydney in Perth in July.
- Played first XV rugby in Wellington before trying Rugby League
- Signed with NZ Warriors in 2010 turning down offers from Manly and Wests Tigers
- Played 23 Toyota Cup games in 2010 including the Grand Final, won by the Warriors
- Moved to Australia and played Queensland Cup in 2011, winning the Grand Final with Wynnum Manly Seagulls
- Made Queensland Residents team in 2012
- Returned to Auckland in 2013, trialling for the Warriors, earning a fulltime contract
- Made his first grade debut on 7th July 2013 against the Rabbitohs in Perth
League: Tough defender Gubb waves off his Mexican alter ego
5:00 AM Saturday Jul 4, 2015
Charlie Gubb made his mark in last week's win over the Raiders.
Until recently, Charlie Gubb feared his time with the Warriors might be defined by his comedic roles in the Wendy's burger television commercials rather than his footballing talents.
After making his NRL debut against the Rabbitohs in Perth late in the 2013 season, Gubb enjoyed five more first grade appearances last year but was unable to nail down a regular spot in coach Andrew McFadden's side.
The 25-year-old admits he began to wonder whether Warriors' fans would remember him more for his dodgy Mexican accent from his time promoting guacamole burgers, than his knack for flattening opposition forwards or strong ball-carrying ability.
"Definitely! You don't want to be that guy that's here for a few years but only plays 10 games," Gubb says, with a big smile and a shake of the head.
"I don't like doing the promo stuff because I know I haven't played a lot of games so it's kind of embarrassing for me but you have to do it."
The consistent form of the Warriors' starting forward pack and the emergence of boom interchange front-rowers Sam Lisone and Albert Vete meant Gubb had to be patient in waiting for another chance in the NRL this season.
Despite being one of the better performers in a powerful NSW Cup side stacked full of players with NRL experience, he found himself on the outer, while other middle men were rewarded with time in the top grade.
"No one really wants to be playing NSW Cup, everyone wants to be playing NRL," he said.
"And everyone in that team has the attributes to be the next man called up so it is hard.
"There was me, Sam Rapira, Suaia Matagi, Sebastine Ikahihifo and Sione Lousi, it was just a big log-jam. Everyone's got people in their ear saying 'you need to do this, you need to do that' so it is kind of stressful even though you are doing what you love.
"But it's hard battling away in NSW Cup, trying to stay focused on what you have to do to get into the NRL team."
He needn't have worried; he eventually earned a bench spot for games against the Roosters and Titans before really making his mark with a bruising 27-minute display in last week's win over the Raiders.
His rib-rattling shot on Canberra prop Frank-Paul Nu'uausala set the Twittersphere ablaze with fans quick to pair the #GubbCity hashtag together with memes commemorating the powerful tackle.
Gubb acknowledges the strength of his defensive game and says he has been keen to prove he is more than just another fringe first grader.
"I know that I've earned it this year. I've got back into my best footy that I know a lot of people haven't seen.
"It's my defence. Out of the club, I can bang the hardest. Ben Matulino's probably got the biggest shoulder charge but apart from him I've got that intent that no one else has.
"I might not break the line but my defence is probably my X-factor."
And while he's been making a big impression in recent weeks, Gubb is not likely to get ahead of himself any time soon.
The unassuming Wellington-born product can often be spotted walking home after Warriors training sessions and revealed he is too shy to ask his teammates for a ride.
It's that kind of humble attitude that sees Gubb considering teaching or social work as a career path post-football.
"I've never been really good at essay-writing but feel that I am good at teaching and being with kids, taking charge of a classroom.
"Going in that direction is something I want to do after footy, whether it is guidance counselling or whatever. We'll see what happens."
Born: May 17, 1990
Representative honours: Queensland Residents (2012)
Junior club: Victoria University Hunters
Previous clubs: Wynnum Manly Seagulls
NRL debut: Warriors v Rabbitohs, nib Stadium, Perth, June 7, 2013 (round 17)
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