The father-son rule has delivered so much to the landscape of Australian Rules Football, giving supporters chances to see stories and lineages grow through generations. The stories and the legacy become etched in the eternal history of the club and the family takes thier place as the royal family of the respective club or clubs.
This weekend Marc Murphy reaches territory only six other men have gone before when he steps onto the oval for what will be his 300th appearance for the Carlton Football Club. It also marks his last game, drawing down the curtain on a long, decorated, skillful, and sometimes painful 16-year career at the highest level.
The Murphy family, of three generations, while no premierships have been won have yielded over 678 games (Leo – 132 at Hawthorn, John – 246 at Fitzroy, South Melbourne and North Melbourne, and Marc – 300 at Carlton) and won a collective 9 club best and fairest awards.
The Murphy family is the only father-son-grandson combination in league history to each play 100 games.
Marc Murphy has given everything he has to Carlton. 16 years of service with countless injury setbacks and surgeries in between.
Grit, toughness, classy, loyal, and consistent are some of his teammates’ words to describe him.
The first of three successive number one draft picks, Murphy’s arrival at the Blues signified the start of turning something over and the start of a build for the new generation.
The kid who decided against going up to Brisbane as a father-son selection. Instead, like father John and grandfather Leo, forged his own path and career at a new club.
His first captain, Carlton premiership superstar Anthony Koutoufides knew of Murphy’s immense talent when he first walked through the doors at the end of 2005. A season where the club had finished on the bottom of the ladder and had claimed only their second wooden spoon to that point.
Koutoufides and Murphy only played together 22 times over the two seasons their careers overlapped, but he could see that he had what it took to reach the top echelon of the Carlton Football Club and competition.
Koutoufidies played with all but 2 members of Carlton’s 300 club. Winning a premiership in 1995 with Steve Silvagni and Craig Bradley and then playing with the most recent members of the 300 club in Kade Simpson and Marc Murphy later in his career.
“The first year that he played, I remember him getting bashed, hit hard and the just kept getting up and I was like, he’s going to be good this kid.” Koutoufides told The Inner Sanctum.
“He’s continually done it. Always worked very hard. a Very fit guy, very skillful. Very smart footballer and, he’s been reliable.”
Murphy’s AFL debut, back in 2006 fell on what was a momentous night for Koutoufides, his 250th game milestone. He collected 17 disposals and kicked a goal in a win against Melbourne at the Telstra Dome. Right from day one, displaying a level of consistency that Koutoufides was in awe of right from the start.
He won the Rising star nominee that week and went on to claim the AFLPA Best first-year player award that season despite only playing 13 games. The first of a slew of awards and achievements over the 16-year journey.
The way he came in, handled being targeted, and, for a few years, assuming the mantle as Carlton’s best and most important player. Now reaching that illustrious 300 game milestone, there is nothing but pride, congratulations, and admiration from one Carlton great to another.
“I’m just really proud of everything he’s been able to achieve. I think for a good span there, I reckon he was Carlton’s most important player. He was really dominating and playing well” Koutoufidies said.
” To play 300 games and to be consistent as he has been, and that was from day dot. When he walked in there as a young kid, he was racking up possessions, and playing really good footy back then. He’s been a phenomenal player”
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Murphy articulated on Tuesday when he spoke to the media how the ending and the journey of his career mightn’t have been all he had hoped for when he was drafted as a teenager. But he takes the most pride in being a loyal one-club player and a true Carlton person for all the ups and downs.
“It’s been an up-and-down 16 years. Obviously, I would have loved to have won a premiership and had some success at this football club where I would have loved to have hung my hat on a flag … but, unfortunately, that is not a part of my story” Murphy said on Tuesday
“The Club is a really special place in my heart and to be able to play 300 games at the footy club is awesome and my family is really proud.”
Murphy noted the advice given to him from father John when he was drafted. The words firmly ringing true now as he plans to move into the next stage of his life.
One thing my old man said to me when I was drafted to Carlton, ‘make sure you’re a one club player’ because he regretted when he left Fitzroy, so that was something that stuck in my mind,” Murphy said.
“The friendships and the bonds I’ve been able to create with past players, hearing from legends from the Club and what it means to be a Carlton player and how much they’ve backed me in, has meant a lot as well.”
As it was, it’s almost ceremonial that the careers of Koutoufidies and Murphy overlapped when they did. Playing together and having much to do with all the members of the esteemed Carlton 300 club, Koutoufidies says he rightfully takes his place alongside all the other gentlemen in the club as a Carlton great.
“100% he is,” Koutoufidies said.
” [He is] Well deserved to be in that club.
” In my day when you talk about Nicholls and Brucey Doull, they stood above so many people… I got to play so many years with Silvagni and Bradley and they were equally as good. Then I had the opportunity to play with both Simpson and Murphy.
“They’re the modern-day warriors for the Carlton Football Club. He’s certainly up there as one of the Carlton greats and he deserves his place to be there.”
His CV more than stacks up. 300 games, Captian of the club for six seasons, two time John Nicholls Medal winner, An All – Australian blazer, 2011 AFLCA player of the year, twice finishing in the top 10 of the Brownlow Medal, sits 4th all-time Brownlow Medal vote-getter for Carlton (114 votes) and the AFLPA best first-year player in 2006 where he only played half a season, its a legacy worthy of being labeled among a clubs elite core.
Certainly a credit to his club and his family lineage.
Recently becoming a father of two – he and wife Jessie have a young son Max and new baby Imogen – Murphy said his next step in life was to “do something different” outside of football but his passion for the sport remains.
In the short term, he is hopeful of preparing for one last win and a final chance to sing the song post-game after a win with a smile.
That’s the least the Blues owe him.
Blues’ 300 club
Craig Bradley 375 (1986-2002)
Bruce Doull 356 (1969-86)
Kade Simpson 342 (2003-20)
John Nicholls 328 (1957-74)
Stephen Silvagni 312 (1985-2001)
Marc Murphy 299* (2006-2021)
*300th game this weekend
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