Ahead of Robert Murphy’s 300th game for the Western Bulldogs on Saturday against Brisbane, former teammate Brad Johnson has revealed a pre-match ritual the pair used to share during their playing days together.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s League Teams on Thursday night, Johnson said Murphy’s advice to him once before a game worked so well, he coveted those words every weekend.
“I used to love pre-game, I used to walk around with (Murphy) and he’d tap me before we’d run out and he’d say, ‘set ‘em alight, Johno’,” Johnson said.
“So it started, and I played a good game so the next week I ‘set ‘em alight’.
“A few times though — I think deliberately — he would not say it to me so I’d start stalking him around the rooms saying, ‘mate, have you got something for me?’. And he’d give me nothing.”
Johnson, the games record holder for the Dogs with 364 matches over his 17-year playing career, believes his former teammate deserves the accolades that come with playing 300 AFL matches, but said it didn’t look likely after they first met.
“I don’t think he could do a chin up, to be honest,” Johnson said.
“It was either him or Gia (Daniel Giansiracusa), I can’t remember.
“But let me tell you now, Bob is one of the strongest men you can come up against. He’s really wiry, but his core strength … you can’t move him off the line. He was very difficult to do one-on-one work with, Murph.
“He’s an out and out champion of the football club. He’s an extremely loyal man.
“Everyone loves Bob. He’s grown into a fantastic young man and really does deserve this honour of 300 games.”