ON THE eve of his historic 300th match, Western Bulldogs skipper Bob Murphy says his thirst for a premiership is as insatiable as ever.
Murphy ruptured his ACL in Round 3 last year, prohibiting him from running out with his teammates on grand final day.
While he was still an integral part of the Bulldogs’ drought-breaking 2016 premiership, Murphy told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 there was a piece of his football puzzle missing.
“Until you win a premiership, there’ll always be a hole,” Murphy said.
“But in terms of everything else, I think I (said) four years ago, ‘I think I’ve had the full experience of footy’ and then four years since, I thought, ‘wow, that was a miscalculation’.”
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While there was uncertainty whether Murphy would return, and indeed return to captain the Bulldogs after his second ACL injury, he suggested his continued quest for a premiership validated his decision on both accounts.
“I had a really long rehab and the rehab was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in a footy sense,” Murphy said.
“It’s paid off because I actually feel … I’ve hit the ground running this year and feel like one of the boys. I feel like I have (made the right decision).”
Murphy is a rarity in footy circles. Not just for his standing in the game as one of the few universally loved players, but also for his peak as a footballer after game 200.
In 2015, at the ripe old age of 33 and after 292 games, Murphy garnered his second All-Australian gong — this time as captain.
“I think I got to a certain age and I just wanted to make each day count I suppose, thinking it could sort of finish at any time,” Murphy said.
“I think my life has become more accountable in the second half of my career.
“I became a father, husband, even writing a newspaper article makes you more visible, so therefore you’re more accountable — coming on here (AFL 360) made me more accountable and then being captain took that to a whole new level.
“I was a pretty unaccountable young kid — I had absolute freedom. I got to the football club and people were talking about being on time — I was like ‘on time? I don’t even have a watch’.
“I just sort of would float about just playing footy and then … I just grew up, I guess.”
In his 18th season, some three days before he becomes only the 77th player to reach 300 games, Murphy said his love for the game was steadfast — even if the game itself had become harder.
“You have to try harder sometimes to find it, because the game is so hard and the pressure is so fierce both internally and externally, it’s easy to lose sight of that,” he said.
“Walking up the race with your teammates to play, that’s pure love and you can always do that. Singing the song after the game, that’s a pure love. Smelling the football — all of those things that I can do every day, every week, that’s the pure love.
“There’s other stuff you have to do, you have to tick the box as a professional or as a leader, but there’s little moments that I think help me keep enjoying it.”
Originally published as ‘There’ll always be a hole’: Bob’s premiership pain
SOURCE: newsnow sport