Bob Murphy plays his 300th game and Marcus Bontempelli pays tribute to his captain
ON a walk to grab my morning coffee I set out with the intention of brainstorming how I wanted to write this article. Wondering how I could best describe the influence Bob Murphy has had on me in this very short time and why it has been so profound.
As I was walking across the road, I found it funny that I was thinking about Bob and this article, and coincidentally the coffee shop I was headed toward was called ďTwo:BobĒ.
So I took a picture of the name and walked in, ordered my strong, three-quarter flat white and sat down, then began to type a text to Bobby. With nothing but snide intentions, it went: ďCanít imagine what having two Bobís would be like . . . one is more than enough mate!Ē.
But before I hit send, it hit me, Bobís influence has been two-fold, represented by his physical presence, and then a more spiritual one, an insight into the legacy heís leaving behind.
The physical presence of Bob is the one that can inspire you into action, can wrap his arm around you in a time of need and with the same level of reverence steer you back in the right direction if he catches you straying.
Over time Iíve understood that his pre-game addresses speak to his values of heart, trust and humility, which I sometimes think would resemble that of a captain marshaling his troops in the heat of battle.
Rich with emotion, the results of his inspiration stem from his understanding of people, and himself, which I think allows him to connect with individuals on a deep level.
Itís because of this that I think my relationship with Bob would be different to the next personís, he gets me, he gets Easton Wood, he gets Luke Dahlhaus, he knows which buttons to push and which levers to pull.
When I walked into the cafe it got me thinking about how Bobís influence is just as strong when he isnít physically present (hence Two:Bob). I donít have to scan too far back to find an example of when this occurred because throughout most of the 2016 season, and even more so during the finals campaign, Bobís presence was obvious.
He may not have been on the field, but the foundations had been laid, so firmly that our behaviours were driven by his echoes.
What he did for us last year was incredibly selfless. He must have been torn emotionally because of course he wanted to be a part of it, part of the build-up to a premiership.
But what he had to do was stay motivated in our eyes at least, he had to give off a scent that he was OK with his situation so therefore everyone else had to be OK.
That is so much easier said than done and he did it magnificently.
As part of writing this article I spoke with president Peter Gordon about our captain. They have a very strong relationship and he told me about a conversation he had with Bob at the end of 2014.
While it is the common perception that the club turned to Bob to be the new captain after all that had occurred, it was in fact the complete opposite.
Bob approached Peter and said it was the right time for him to step forward and take on the captaincy. He said the club had to be brought together and he was the one to do it. And soon enough our player vote confirmed this. Bob would be our captain.
One of his major strengths is drawing people in and bringing them together, another example of that came in the lead-up to the finals series last year.
On this particular day when we walked into our playersí meeting, there was a large question mark written on the board.
Bob had put it there.
The question he was asking was simple - how good could we be?
The gist of his message was that he wanted us to look at it collectively, we were heading in the right direction having made the finals but we had to think about how good we could be.
He also wanted us to question ourselves personally, think about how good I could be? How good the person sitting next to me could be?
Bobís words and presence possess weight. When he says things he means them. One of my greatest football memories is when Bob told me he was proud of me.
Weíd finished our final few days of pre-Christmas training and relaxed with a few quiet beers together at a pub in South Melbourne. As the night wound up, Bob and I shared an uber ride home together.
Over that last few days of training the team established our leadership group for the upcoming season. I was a new addition, but as a third-year player he may have sensed in me a slight nervousness at the news.
Bob told me he was proud of me and that nothing should change, that the person I am is what the players respected, therefore to continue as I was. I remember feeling goosebumps during some of the conversation, because it was genuine, it was real and itís this reassuring influence that makes Bob Murphy one of the greatest men Iíve met.
Bob loves Paul Kelly and there is a line in his song Before Too Long that goes ďevery dog will have his dayĒ, which I think is a proverb for people having good luck in their lives at some point.
As Bob plays his 300th game next weekend I think he would say he feels lucky to have played so many games, but in turn, we have been lucky . . . lucky to see him play so many, and lucky to get to know him.
So Bob, enjoy your day.
Premierships: SENIORS - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, 2014, 2016 (10 total) AFL 1954, 2016. RESERVES - 1938, 1945, 1962, 1988, 1994, 1998 (6 total) UNDER 19S - 1954 (1 total) Other Premierships - Championship of Victoria 1924 (1 total); VFL Night Series 1963-64, 1967, 1970 (4 total) Preseason Cup, 2010 (total 1)
Post Thanks / Like - 8 Thanks, 6 Likes