Round 3 Syd Guildford Nominee: Joe Murphy

Twelve months to the day after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL, Mt Gravatt co-captain Joe Murphy has been awarded the round 3 Syd Guildford nomination.

Murphy racked up possession after possession in the Vultures win over Broadbeach on Saturday; back to his blistering best in the middle.

The 25-year-old was definitely no slouch in the first fortnight, but there was one difference for him on the weekend.

“It was the first game I haven’t been cooked by half time. I went into the last quarter with a little bit to give which was a real contrast to the first couple of weeks,” Murphy said.

“Getting that match fitness back was always going to be a struggle, but I think it’s getting back to a standard I want it to be.”

His ACL gave way just three-quarters into the 2015 season, which meant 17 games watching from the sidelines.

“You go through the process, and get the bad news of missing footy for 12 months, and its tough to deal with. It’s hard not to go to some pretty dark places, especially in the first three months,” he said.

“Your first three months is really tough, because it’s so far away from playing footy again, it’s far away from even walking. It seems like such a long road.

“Going to watch footy is never fun when your not playing, but especially when the boys aren’t doing so well, it made it tougher.”

The long road of recovery concluded in the Alpha Sport Pre-Season Cup this year, when Murphy pulled on the blue and white against Wilston Grange.

“To be honest I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous before a footy game, and it was just a practice match,” he said.

“There were a lot of elements to it. There were nerves about whether or not I could still play footy at this level, nerves about how my body would hold up, and a lot of self-doubt.

“It must have been obvious, because I had that many people come up to me after the game and tell me I looked nervous.”

The work has been done, the knee is as good as it’s going to be, and each time he runs out, the confidence grows.

“Once I got out there, got a touch, and got tackled, it was a weight off my shoulders,” Murphy said.

“I don’t even strap my knee, I don’t want to think about it, because I know I have done everything I can, and physically it’s fine. Now it’s about overcoming the mental side.”

With three games under his belt, it’s now business as usual.

“Personally I just want to keep helping the boys. In the leadership position my priority isn’t necessarily my own game, it’s about helping everyone perform to the standards. All I want to do is keep enjoying my footy, and make the most out of having a healthy body and playing footy with my mates, it’s that simple,” Murphy said.

And on the team front, for the 20 others he and Mick Hamill lead out each week, Murphy said the sky is the limit.

“As a team, we have started well, but we have got to carry that through, we can’t rest on what we have done, we are confident, and won’t set any limitations on what we can achieve this year,” he said.

Mt Gravatt will look to continue their unbeaten run so far this year when they take on Palm Beach at home this Saturday.

By Andrew Wiles

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