An elite rebounding defender with silky skills, Bob Murphy became a legend of the game and the Western Bulldogs Football Club through his versatility, leadership and dedication over his 312 game career.
Drafted to the club in 1999, Murphy debuted in 2000 and earned a string of accolades in his early years including a Rising Star Nomination, International Rules selection, and club awards recognising him as one of the Bulldogs best up and coming players.
In 2011 Murphy found career best form, earning his first All Australian selection, returning to the leadership group, and ultimately being named captain ahead of the 2015 season. He was not only named AFLPA Captain of the year by his peers in his inaugural year as captain for the Western Bulldogs, but also selected and nominated as Captain of the All-Australian side of 2015, becoming the first ever player to have collected both honours in the same season.
2016 was a year filled with utter heartbreak and total elation. Murphy sustained a season-ending ACL injury in April, unbeknown to him at the time, his team would go on to win a drought breaking premiership in September that year. Murphy always the leader, showed his class throughout, earning him a place in the heart of not just the Bulldogs faithful, but footy fans across the country. Murphy played the last of his 312 games in 2017, and his unique character and dedication throughout his 17 year career earned him the unofficial title of the heart and soul of the Western Bulldogs.
Post his playing career, Murphy is still involved with the Bulldogs and has also cemented himself as a high class media performer. A part of the Fox Footy team he can be seen on AFL 360 and hosts his own show ‘Bob’, writes for The Age and co-host ‘Bob & Andy’ with Andy Maher on SEN. He remains involved with the Western Bulldogs through their AFLW team and hosts a weekly podcast for the club website.
Bob’s passion and skill for writing saw him recently publish his is unique memoir; Leather Soul, which takes the reader inside his seventeen-year career, exploring the people, places and events that shaped him. From playing backyard cricket in 1980’s in Warragul, to the Community Cup with Paul Kelly in the 2000’s, and from the joy of marrying his high school crush to the agony of a season-ending ACL rupture. A truly lovable character, the book explores how the country kid with a gypsy’s heart become an All-Australian captain and what’s it like to have your club reach the AFL Grand Final for the first time in sixty-two years, and have to cheer from the sidelines.
The father of three continues to stand out as a one of the AFL’s most memorable and unique characters and has never been a typical footballer. A music buff, Age columnist and Winnebago driver, Bob is as comfortable in a Northcote café or the front bar of a grungy pub as he is in the locker room.