Carlton coach David Teague has high hopes that veteran Marc Murphy will be back in the senior side at some point this season, telling media he hopes the 295-gamer hasn’t played his last game at the club.
Murphy, who’s been with the club since 2006 has been dropped from Carlton’s Round 14 squad against Greater Western Sydney for the second time in three games, however, Teague says there’s a mutual understanding between the two.
“We had a good conversation, he’s really clear on what he’s going to work on and if he can do that then definitely we’re a better side with him in it,” Teague told media on Friday.
“We just need him playing at his best and that’s his challenge.”
The Blues coach was hesitant to provide information on the specifics that have been asked of Murphy, saying that’s a matter for the two of them. However, Teague says Murphy’s willingness to train in specific areas to improve his game is a challenge he’s willing to take on.
“He’s clear with what they are and to give him the best chance to work on we’ll let him go away, train it,” Teague said.
“He trained well this week. I think he’s in a really good position to go compete strongly and execute the areas we’ve challenged him in.”
While Murphy himself has previously conceded he was approached with a proposition to play in a new role before the season starting, Teague says the midfielder-turned-forward is happy to accept what’s best for the football club.
“I think one of the great things Marc’s done is he puts his football club first and at times that’s the position you’re in,” Teague says.
“Marc’s been a great player for this football club for a long time. That’s mainly been as a midfielder and this year we’ve shifted him to half-forward,” Teague says.
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Teague, in continuing to reflect on the team-first nature his star player has amid the harrowing thought he may miss the elusive 300-game club, Murphy is content with his career regardless Teague said.
“He’s been a great player for a long time. He’s been a captain and it would be great to get him to 300 (games) but we’re not just going to give games away,” Teague said.
“He made a great point to me the other day that he’s had a good career, whether it goes on or not, he’s had a good career. But he’s not finished yet.”
The test starts for Murphy in the VFL this weekend where Carlton is away to Port Melbourne on Saturday afternoon. Teague has confidence in the former Carlton captain to recapture his form in the VFL and play a strong game and push for selection again.
“I’d like to think that he’ll go back, play really well, put his hand back up, and force his way back into the side,” Teague hopes.
“We’ve got half a season to go and he’s going to work rally hard and hopefully he’ll force his way back into the side and play really good footy when he gets back in.
Teague says it’ll be up for debate as to when, and where Murphy slots back into the team but admits his inclusion won’t be a certainty, with many others knocking on the door.
“He could come back in as a midfielder or a half forward, depending on the opportunities and where we need him.
“We’ll pick the team that we think is the best for our football club. Not only for the present but for the future going forward. There’s no reason why Mark can’t be part of that.”
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