Bob Murphy: Big brother, big influence and even bigger heart

Anna Pavlou Roar Rookie

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    “I know this sounds like a cliché,” Bob began, his signature grin beaming. “but this was a childhood dream.”

    The Western Bulldogs’ favourite son Robert ‘Bob’ Murphy has announced that he will be hanging up the boots at the end of the 2017 season.

    The 310-gamer took to the press along with coach Luke Beveridge, explaining the football world, according to Bob.

    He began with thank-you’s, to coaches of old and new and to his family, for their optimism from game one to game 310. He thanked his teammates for ‘keeping him young’ and he noted the privilege and pride he felt to be part of, but to also lead his Bulldogs’ pack.

    There was even a mention of Murphy’s heroes in the Richmond Tigers team of 1995, giving the then 13-year-old boy hope to play the gritty game of AFL. As well as a long-time hero in Martin Flanagan, who notes Murphy as ‘one of the special people’ in sport.

    As the conference continued, Murphy admitted he retired three times last season, after his knee injury sidelined him for the most part of 2016.

    Bob then went on to explain that he was ‘that close’ to actually retiring at the end of the 2016 season, but felt as if he had more to give, hence his decision to play on in 2017.

    However, he knew when winter 2017 hit, that this season would be his last, with his body giving him “tell-tale signs” that he’d “run the tank completely dry.”

    Bulldogs head coach Luke Beveridge stated the club would be “disturbed” by the exit of a favourite son, but focus would remain heavily on the rest of the 2017 season, with Murphy believing that the Dogs have “still got some cards to play.”

    Beveridge also stated that Murphy should walk away “fulfilled” as he was such a positive figure who brought the club into a good space, placing him up with the likes of Bulldogs’ heroes Ted Whitten and Charlie Sutton.

    When asked what he’d miss most about playing football, Murphy explained the feeling of ecstasy and brotherhood shared in the two minutes prior to the team running out to play, highlighting how it would be a feeling he would forever cherish.

    He ended with some wise words for his younger teammates seated in front of him. “This football club is in my skin, in my bones. I encourage young players to hang on at the one club, because it’s a pure joy.”

    Murphy’s end statement was that the song ‘End of the Line’ by The Traveling Wilburys, would fit his retirement perfectly.

    So, don’t be surprised if you hear it blasting from the Whitten Oval come season’s end.

    Bob Murphy changed the way we perceive the game of AFL today.

    AFL now is all corporate and big business, but Bob Murphy was able to survive by being grass roots and all people.

    His endless fascination with football people, their stories and the oval ball makes him a great AFL hero.

    Bob Murphy represented every man. From the little kid snapping goals over his shoulder down at the park, to the weekend warriors battling it out on suburban grounds around the country.

    It felt like he played for us, because he was one of us.

    Congratulations on a fantastic career, Bob. Keep smiling.