On Saturday afternoon against Brisbane at Etihad Stadium, Bulldogs skipper and fan favourite Robert Murphy will play his 300th game of AFL footy .The 34-year old father of 3 has had his fair share of ups and downs along the way .The most pivotal in his career being a serious knee injury in Round 3 in 2016. This ruled him out for the season, one in which The Doggies went on to premiership, with Murphy missing out on a podium finish. Despite the heartbreak, it is evident that the gutsy veteran still has the passion and thirst to chase another premiership this season.
17-Year Veteran, Timeless Warrior
Murphy’s career, which has spanned the best part of 17 years, saw him play his first game at what was then know as Princes Park, Bob kicked a critical last gasp goal. Murphy started off as a thin and scrawny teenager wearing the number 22. He started playing at full back – a position that he has become familiar with, picking up All Australian honours twice. Murphy was also voted as the captain of the year in 2015. His goal kicking stocks lifted when Rodney Eade played him as a forward in 2005. He kicked 35 goals and his overhead marking and off-the-mark pace proved to be invaluable for the team. Injury has always bothered Murphy, with the star picking up his first Knee injury in 2006 in the bulldogs loss to Collingwood. The injury kept him out of the rest of the 2006 season, and saw Murphy miss his first finals series. He returned to the back line in the 2007 the season, finishing 5th in the club’s best and fairest and started to find consistent form picking up 25+ disposals.
Murphy becomes just the 7th Bulldogs player to reach the milestone. The 2015 All Australian captain contemplated retirement after his injury in 2016. Murphy is currently the oldest active player in the competition. The longevity of Murphy’s career has come down to one critical factor – the fact that his childlike joy of and still playing the game he loves helps he finds the key to success. Murphy missing the grand final last year brought a tear to every AFL fans eye especially after breaking a 55-year drought. It also outlines the respect he commands within the club and in the AFL. Murphy’s impact in the side this year has been no different, with him still being one of the premier players in the Doggies outfit. Murphy’s leadership and hios ability to a lot of younger inexperienced players under his wing has really influenced his playing group on and off the field. Whether you are a Bulldogs fan or not, you cannot help but admire Murphy’s durability and passion. We wish him all the best as he leads the Dogs out on Saturday in his 300th game, and hope he has a fantastic game to celebrate this amazing milestone.
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