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

Anna Pavlou Roar Rookie

By Anna Pavlou, Anna Pavlou is a Roar Rookie New author!

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19 Have your say

    “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.

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • Roar Guru

      August 18th 2017 @ 9:07am
      Pumping Dougie said | August 18th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      Well said Anna. He’s one of my all-time favourites, mainly for his personality, but also for the sheer skill. I can’t recall anyone like him – a scrawny body who was a highly effective CHF in one era (with the most unlikely body for that role), but also shone on the wing or forward flank and then became a star backman. Very unique footballer and personality.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 18th 2017 @ 9:41am
        Anna Pavlou said | August 18th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Pumping Dougie,
        Absolutely agree. Very unique player who deserves all the praise he receives. Thank-you for your comment!

        • Roar Guru

          August 18th 2017 @ 2:44pm
          Pumping Dougie said | August 18th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

          Actually Mattyb below has just reminded me of another player very like Bob – Robbie Flower. Robbie didn’t have the loveable personality that Bob Murphy has, but in body shape, skill and playing style they are remarkably similar. Flower was probably a better mark and never really played in the backline, but they were both so skinny, so sublime, so consistent, so durable, so quick and elusive and out-and-out stars of the game.

      • August 19th 2017 @ 1:12pm
        GeorgieBoy said | August 19th 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

        Unique, not very unique. He is the only one of his kind! We may never see his like again, certainly not in my life-time.

    • August 18th 2017 @ 10:31am
      Sydneygirl said | August 18th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

      Despite me being a supporter of another team Bob Murphy has always been an absolute favourite player. Deserving of all the accolades he gets.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 18th 2017 @ 11:57am
        Anna Pavlou said | August 18th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report


        Thanks for your comment. I also do not support the Dogs, but was honoured, along with so many, to watch the journey of Bob.

    • August 18th 2017 @ 10:50am
      Paul W said | August 18th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

      Thanks for the article Anna, I can’t believe some of the mean spirited stuff I’ve read on social media about a man who is something any player should aspire to be.

      I’ve loved being there throughout all the highs and lows of Bob’s football journey from his first game to his last (whenever that may be). I love the excitement he would engender in the crowd as he took off from half back to create something special for the forwards. Or the the period he spent as an agile, elusive undersized CHF.

      Thanks for everything Bob.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 18th 2017 @ 12:22pm
        Anna Pavlou said | August 18th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        Paul W,
        Thanks for the comment.

        You are very lucky to have seen the wonderful and full career of Bob Murphy. Moments like the ones you described would have been breathtaking to watch.

    • August 18th 2017 @ 10:50am
      Mattyb said | August 18th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

      Great article Anna. There’s been a lot of chapter closing at the dogs over the last couple of years,some good some not so good.
      The Murphy chapter is a great story. People and faces are always changing at football clubs,but hopefully the spirit of Bob has rubbed onto a few of the next generation of young pups.

      I’ve only ever been shocked and concerned for a player on debut twice. Once was Bob and the other was Bailey Dale. Bob looked so young and so skinny,but he impressed me from game one and instantly reminded me of Robbie Flower. Bob was so silky with his skill and movement. Also played out of position for most of his career helping the needs of the club. Some great names have represented the doggies,as good as any club in this regard,and Robert Murphy can feel comfortable sitting along side many of these great names.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 18th 2017 @ 11:56am
        Anna Pavlou said | August 18th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        Thanks for your comment. I agree with you when you say that Bob was so young and skinny. I think we were all a little worried for him on debut!

        Luke Beveridge, when asked, stated that bob deserves to be up there with the great E.J Whitten and Charlie Sutton. This statement is one I think we can all agree with!

        • August 18th 2017 @ 12:07pm
          Paul W said | August 18th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

          C’mon now Anna, how old were you when Bob debuted ?

    • August 18th 2017 @ 11:00am
      The Fatman said | August 18th 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

      Set the controls for the heart of the Sun

    • August 18th 2017 @ 11:29am
      Gyfox said | August 18th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

      I used to love reading his articles in The Age

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