A fan’s love letter to Bob Murphy

A fan’s love letter to Bob Murphy.


by Spencer Gigacz


There are few things worse in footy than seeing your team go down in a tight-fought loss. A good mark, a well-placed kick and the glimmer of protection your 3-point lead once provided goes begging. For many of us Doggies supporters, this match could have been the pinnacle of the home and away season, the ‘sexy’ Dogs taking it up to the long-standing champs and showing them how it’s done. However, it was not to be. James Sicily was hit lace-out, slotted the goal and showed us all why the Hawks have been on top for so long. But for many of us in the Red, White and Blue, the heartbreak had already begun, as while Sicily flew for the mark, our skipper had fallen to the ground clutching his troublesome knee, his future hanging in the balance.


For the football community, Bob Murphy is a shining light, a well-spoken, respected-by-all alternative to the machismo that dominates contact sports and most of all, a silky ball-striker with exceptional leadership skills. To the Footscray faithful, Bob is far more. He epitomises all that the club stands for, a never-say-die attitude, incredible selflessness and compassion, and above all, an unquenchable thirst for success. He is the captain who led us out of the dark and into a new era of hope and prosperity. He has turned back the clock with his on-field performances, displaying career-best form and leadership worthy of the All-Australian captaincy.


The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for Dogs’ supporters, with the excitement and expectations of our boys at the Kennel rising by the day. Like many others at various points over the previous weeks and months I’ve caught myself dreaming. I dream of a bright day in September, a blur of celebratory red, white and blue and most of all Robert Murphy, with a rascalish smile beaming from his face and a hand on the premiership cup. A dream I’m sure Bob would have had many times himself.


As Sicily’s kick soared between the posts, all Bulldogs eyes remained on Bob, all fearing the worst. Lists of potential injuries rushed through my head, having spent the last two hours yelling profanities at the television screen, all I could manage were two words: “Not Bob”.


At this point in time, we aren’t privy to the nature of our captain’s injury, but the prognosis doesn’t look good. If we are to lose Bob for good this season, footy will have lost one of its finest, the likes of which we may not see again. His career now rests in the hands of fate and all we have left to do is hope.


Of the things I share in common with Murph, three things standout; a passion for our great game, a love for our club and a love of the band Oasis. Although our dreams may never come true and Bob may never be able to lift that premiership cup, he has ensured a lifelong place in the hearts of the Red, White and Blue. When thinking about Murphy’s legacy, an Oasis song springs to mind, ‘Live Forever’ and I can’t think of a more apt way to describe a man who means so much to so many.


No matter what happens in the coming weeks


You will truly live forever


This piece appeared in The Doggies Almanac 2016. MORE ABOUT THE DOGGIES ALMANAC 2016

Check out Bob Murphy’s fine speech on becoming an AFL Life Member in March


  1. Neil Anderson says

    Wow! What is it about great writing and being a member of the Gigacz family?
    After a sleepless night thinking about what happened to Bob, I am trying to draft a report, at least in my head, for the match yesterday. Too much has happened to digest it all, so I might be late this week submitting it to the Almanac.
    Besides you have stolen my thunder with your your wonderful tribute to Bob Murphy.
    If I can decide on a theme for my report, it will involve a lot of tragedy, but also an expectation of what Bob will be saying to his troops when he gets his first opportunity.

  2. Terrible news for Murphy. Richo was in the commentary box when it happened and I thought he was going to burst into tears. And Lingy let out an uncontrived, heartfelt “Get up Bob” when he saw Murphy fall. Sad stuff.

  3. Surely there is not anybody who dislikes Bob Murphy!

  4. Great piece, Spencer. I thought there was a premiership oasis on Bob’s horizon but I fear now that it was no more than a mirage. For the rest of the team, though, the possibility of a premiership or two in the next five years is very, very real.

    Go Dogs!

  5. Dave Brown says

    Well put Spencer. I’m a fan of another club but I bloody love Bob Murphy. The game is richer for his involvement in it. Fingers crossed!

  6. He is the epitome of Aussie Rules no matter how stupidly it gets packaged and marketed and manufactured. His spirit and skill and endeavour and decency and sense of team and community rises above all that noise. That’s what we watched in despair fall to the ground. But he will rise because he is what footy is or should be and can be and we know it. Love your tribute Spencer.

  7. Ben Footner says

    Is there anything worse than seeing a player go down with a knee injury? Particularly when it will most likely end their career. Sad news. Hopefully his young team can stay the course in his absence.

  8. A fine tribute Spencer
    I was watching the game on the TV
    I screamed a lorry load of profanities audible in neighbouring houses and,possibly suburbs, when he went down and when the realisation hit that it might be career-ending
    I’m a Blues fan and I was at the G the day Chris Judd went down clutching his knee in similar fashion to Bob
    Some days footy makes you want to cry!

  9. Well written Spencer, a fine tribute indeed. Let’s hope we see him back on the field again. While a Blues supporter, I hope the young Dogs can continue on with their exciting brand of football without him and head deep into September.

  10. Peter Schumacher says

    Footy does, “Want to make you cry sometimes.” Bob Murphy is an inspirational player who rises above all of the bullshit which permeates our great game, with his attitude and bearing. Sure hope that he does get to hold that Premiership Cup.

  11. Hi Spencer,

    I watched the game until half time and later I heard Bob’s injury. It’s sad news.

    Murphy is a loyal, inspiring and strong leader that is similar to my Nick Riewoldt. Like Nick, Bob is popular and respected in the competition. He works well and saves the Kennell with Beverage after Griffin’s trade to GWS and McCartny’s resignation.

    As a St Kilda supporter, I understand your big hope seeing the second flag and Murphy holding the cup.

    I hope he comes back on the field and goes through his 300th game milestone following Rooey.



  12. Yvette Wroby says

    Well written Spencer,, it was heartbreaking to watch and heartbreaking for Bob and his family and the Doggies and their supporters. We have to just hope that he does whats best and that the Doggies bottle up a little of Bob in their footy souls and keep on marching.

    Go Dogs


  13. Luke Reynolds says

    Well written Spencer. What a great man Bob is. Hope it’s not the end, he deserves better.

  14. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Terrific Stuff Spencer,
    Hope he comes back and Captains the Dogs to the flag. Would be one of the greatest stories the game has seen. The loss of Murphy is a loss for every footy fan.

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