In Bob we trust

Bob Murphy lives around the corner. I see him walking the streets of Carlton North with his family, Justine, Frankie Jarvis and his dog, Arthur. I guess it’s the lot of an AFL footballer living in Melbourne but it’s weird knowing so much about a person you’ve never met, let alone talked to. We know a lot more about Bob because of the weekly column in The Age. We’ve read about the first pair of football boots he owned, his friendships with Gia and the people’s Beard and his love of the kennel.

Bob writes a good piece, he has humility and an eye for detail that you don’t often see. Bob’s musings on life, mateship and the joys and pressures of football provide a unique perspective on what is an increasingly sanitised industry. His writing is reminiscent of the Brent Croswell pieces I’ve read.

Other than our geographic proximity there is bit of common ground between Bob and I. We seem to share a taste for flannel and the music of Tom Waits, Tex Perkins, the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash and You Am I. We also both grew up in Gippsland. I’m pretty sure I shared a ground with him once or twice while playing junior footy, him for Warragul, me for Wonthaggi. Any similarities didn’t carry through to the playing field. Bob’s a creative flanker, a quality footballer. I was an ankle kicking struggler.

Because of these associations I’ve followed Bob’s career more closely than others. Not only is he an astute sports writer he’s also a joy to watch on the field. He’s quick of both mind and foot and rarely wastes it. Good footballers bring their teammates into the game and that’s one of Bob’s strengths. His creativity allows his teammates to shine. What I like most about Bob is his unabashed love for his club. It’s righteously old fashioned and wonderful to see.

Being the off season I’ve noticed Bob around the neighbourhood a bit more often over the past month, having dinner at the Great Northern, grabbing a coffee on Rathdowne Street, going for a run around the streets of Carlton North.

I have probably paid a little more attention given all of the press around the Bullies. He seemed to cut a forlorn figure amongst the Carlton crowd. I couldn’t help but wonder what he made of the Griffen, Cooney and Higgins departures or how he felt about Brendan McCartney’s resignation and now Luke Beveridge’s appointment. Bob ducked out of the kennel for a couple weeks and has returned to a different looking family.

I was glad to see Bob named captain. He’ll be a ripper. He looks the man to build a bridge between old dogs and new pups. He’ll insist on a respect for tradition and share his love of the club and it’s people. I reckon things will be all right out at the kennel. All this recent turmoil will be quickly forgotten. I’ll still see Bob around the neighbourhood now and then but I won’t be wasting my time wondering whether the pups of the west are in capable hands.

About Rees Quilford

Communications stooge. PhD student. Occasional scribbler. Football watcher. Underwater Hockey tragic.


  1. G’day Rees,

    It’s a great writing and I enjoyed reading. Same as you, I am impressed with Bob’s weekly column in the Age. Indeed I agree with you about his great playing footy and writing.

    I’m afraid to say that I go for the Saints, but it’s great to hear that Bob was appointed as a captain at the Kennel.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts of Bob.

    Cheers :)


  2. Cheers Yoshi, glad you liked it. He’s a solid citizen is Bob, quality footballer, engaging writing and has great taste in tunes.

    Despite the departure of Lenny, Saint Nick’s resigning means you don’t have to worry about the leadership for your boys for another couple of years.

  3. Neil Anderson says

    Bob Murphy is part of a group at the Kennel that convinces us supporters to stick with the Bulldogs when the going gets tough. That group includes Chris Grant, Brad Johnson, Gia and Dale Morris. Loyal without the big egos and with faultless character on and off the field.
    A few of us try to copy Bob’s whimsical style with our own writing but seldom get close. But isn’t he great to read.
    JTH, he would be ideal as an Almanac book-launcher.

  4. No worries Rees. Riewoldt’s resigning is great for Saints, but meanwhile I think we have train young players to gain leadership skills for the future. I believe Nick will do such tasks!

    Neil, I agree with you about your idea for the Almanac book launcher.

  5. Great story Rees. Of course Bob would be a terrific addition to the media ranks when he retires, and he’d improve the quality significantly. But I almost hope that he has higher, more unique aspirations than this. A writer/thinker-in-residence at the AFL,?

  6. Neil, agree. I imagine he’d deliver a decent speech.

    Rohan Smith was another from that generation that had a bit of class and loyalty about him.

    Easy to say at this time of year but I reckon the future looks pretty bright for the Dogs. The class that departed this year will hurt in the short term but the kids look good,

  7. Like it Mickey

    AFL Professorial Fellow has a nice ring to it.

  8. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Rees, great article, first we have observations of Richo, and now Bob. You gotta love life when such lively thoughts and writings can come from seeing people we know and don’t know at all. I’d like him as PM Bob actually, we could do with some class in all level of politics and he’s got it in spades.


  9. I figure that the Saints and the Bulldogs have a symbiotic relationship. They need to share the love to demonstrate that the other is the biggest basket case in the AFL.

  10. Neil Anderson says

    Drug-free, surviving against all odds and with Bob Murphy and others of exceptional character still around the Club, we are so glad we barrack for the Red, White and Blue.
    Basket-case…Shmarket-case as long as we love our Club and the people who make up that Club.

  11. There is a team for every psychological type. Masochists – Bulldogs. Party loving self loathers – Saints. Deluded narcissists – Melbourne. Sado masochists – Carlton.
    Hmm – there might be an article in this.
    Look forward to your comments on my Eagles/drugs piece, Neil.

  12. Neil Anderson says

    I did read your Eagles/drugs piece Peter. Being a lad from a humble western-suburbs back-ground and a latter-day masochist, I found your proposals and ideas about players who are skint after their glory days and how to fix it, a bit overwhelming.
    I am always reluctant to point the finger at other Clubs when I hear about their wrong-doings. I cross my fingers and quietly say, “There but for the grace of God goes my Club.”
    You are on the front-line regarding the drug problem and us head-in-the-sand types rely on you to put your ideas forward. In the meantime we may be delusional but we live in hope our small, possibly basket-case Clubs remain scandal-free and survive the lop-sided competition.
    Apart from all that serious stuff, an article about the psychological profiling of various supporters sounds like a lot of fun.

Leave a Comment