Lachlan Murphy of Adelaide during the 2019 AFL round 11 match between Melbourne and Adelaide at TIO Stadium on Saturday, 1 June 2019 in Darwin, Northern Territory. Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Flickerd

Lachlan Murphy of Adelaide during the 2019 AFL round 11 match between Melbourne and Adelaide at TIO Stadium on Saturday, 1 June 2019 in Darwin, Northern Territory. Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Flickerd

Following a career best season, Crows small forward Lachie Murphy has been rewarded with a leadership role in Adelaide’s expanded setup.

For Murphy, the 2023 season culminated when he finished in sixth place in the Malcolm Blight Medal. Murphy averaged 15 disposals and three tackles last season, and his forward pressure and tenacity around congestion resonated within the playing group.

Adelaide’s new leadership group will feature eight players, four of which will be in their first year of their roles. Jordan Dawson will resume his captaincy for a second year and the likes of Reilly O’Brien, Brodie Smith, and Ben Keays are set to assist him.

Additionally, Murphy, alongside Mitch Hinge, Wayne Milera, and Darcy Fogarty will round out a rather large setup that has ambitions of reaching their first finals campaign since 2017.

A truly rewarding honour, Murphy showed the utmost appreciation for everybody who had assisted him in his ascension.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be voted in by your peers, coaches, and all those who tick it off,” he said.

“I’m real grateful that Nicksy (Matthew Nicks) and the players have seen that and trust me with the role.”

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The importance of simply playing your role is something that is never overlooked, by coaches particularly, and it’s no doubt that Murphy’s attention to detail, work ethic, and desire to be the best, is what put him in this position.

“Something I’d like to bring is just the value of playing your role, and hopefully by me doing that more consistently as I get older, it’s a powerful message for younger players that aspire to be a leader,” Murphy said.

“It just might be the mindset that’s going to help the team even more and might get us the one per cent extra to get us to finals.”

It is no secret that Murphy is somewhat of a character around the club, and his quick-witted humour and easy-going personality embody what it means to be a good teammate.

“I’ll have a focus on just being myself, I’d like to think that I am a well=liked teammate and I didn’t really think that would mean a leadership position at all,” he said.

“I just want to lead by the way of being yourself and being comfortable with who you are.”

Initially recruited as a SANFL development player, Murphy worked his way up the ranks. Despite this, Murphy doesn’t shy away from his history of bouncing between state and national level footy.

“Regardless of how I’m going form wise, whether I’m in or out of the team, this leadership group is built of leaders on and off the field,” he said.

“The greatest challenge for any leader is how they lead through adversity, there might be stages this year where I’m not in the ones or playing well and that’s a great challenge for me and any of the other leaders that might be injured.”

Murphy described his unconventional journey from CrowMania, to rookie list, to leader as ‘kind of cool’.

“…it’s an honour and a privilege, and when you put it like that it never really once crossed my mind that I was going to have a leadership title,” he said.

“To be valued by my peers, the coaches, and the board that ticks it all off, for them to put trust in me like that it gives me a sense of belonging.

The ability to be self-aware highlighted just how mature Murphy is. He understands that he’s never going to be the thirty disposal, or five goal type of player, but rather the scrapper who thrives off of one percenters and pressure.

“I felt like in this leadership group we’ve got fantastic on field leaders and real strong characters,” he said.

“Normally the leadership group can just be the best players and they’re outstanding on-field leaders as well all know but I feel like I bring something different to that.

Originally hailing from Victoria and moving to SA to join the Crows development program, West Lakes is now home.

“I never like to use the word ‘comfortable’ but it just shows and reiterates to me that I do belong at the level and at this footy club,” he said.

“It’s a footy club that I love and to be considered a leader of it is something that is quite special to me.”

A massive preseason block post-Christmas suggests that the Crows are well-conditioned. But Murphy suggests that a lot more goes into preseason than just intense drills and laps of the oval.

“There’s a lot of work that goes in Monday to Friday that isn’t seen on gameday and I believe that the work that I’ve put in that timeframe during the week has resulted in me getting voted in,” he said.

An eight-man leadership unit left many scratching their heads, but Murphy ensured that this decision was the right way to unite the entire playing group.

“Having a bigger group means we can be connected to all areas of the locker room, as it can be hard to access everyone,” he said.

“I feel like we’ve got a great range of characters that excel in social settings, whether they are a bit chatty or a bit more one on one focused, so it just helps bring the whole 44 in as one.”

However, all the setbacks and challenges he’s been faced with have built a perseverant, determined leader, who is ready to take his squad to the next level.

“Everyone’s got their own unique journey in life, some get drafted, some miss out their first three times, everyone’s got different hardships throughout their career, and I reflect regularly on my journey,” he said.

“It’s something that I am extremely proud of but I’m never satisfied with where I’m at and that just how my brain works, I always want to get better and compete in any way.”

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