Sport AFL Sam Newman’s ‘hurtful’ attack on retiring footy legend

Sam Newman’s ‘hurtful’ attack on retiring footy legend

Murphy and Easton Wood celebrate after the 2016 AFL Grand Final. Photo: Getty
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Sam Newman has been criticised for “distasteful” comments about retiring Western Bulldogs legend Robert Murphy and his role in the club’s premiership celebrations last year.

Murphy missed last year’s Grand Final win due to a serious knee injury as the Bulldogs broke a 62-year premiership drought in stunning fashion.

The 311-gamer, credited with turning the fortunes of the Bulldogs around in an inspirational stint as skipper, enjoyed the after-match celebrations with his teammates and even hoisted the premiership cup aloft with deputy captain Easton Wood to spark a big roar from the MCG crowd.

But nothing could make up for the fact Murphy did not play, as he has revealed many times this year, including an interview in which he said missing out left him with a “hole in the heart”.

Murphy is set to retire at season’s end and it is likely the Bulldogs will miss the finals, needing to beat Hawthorn and a slew of other results to go their way to feature in this season’s top eight.

Speaking on The Footy Show, Newman said if the Bulldogs missed the finals “they won’t have to go through the charade of finding a premiership medal for Bobby Murphy.”

“Get out of the way, mate,” he added.

“You’ve been in every photo of the premiership and actually didn’t play in it.

“Let the players take the credit who actually won the thing.”

Newman’s opinion was not shared by The Footy Show host Eddie McGuire, who said Murphy “helped turn the culture of that football club around.”

Former Essendon champion Tim Watson went on the attack on Friday morning, telling SEN radio “what Sam said last night is a really hurtful, distasteful thing to say.”

Watson, who is a colleague of Murphy’s at SEN, went on to say: “Bob Murphy is a genuine person, a most genuine person.

“He did nothing other than join in the celebration of the club’s unlikely flag. He, more than most, understands the game is all about the team.

“The fact that he was dragged into the group was an acknowledgement of what he meant to the group and how deeply they felt for someone who had given so much, but missed the Grand Final day experience.”

Watson added that the AFL was “littered” with people who “sought the spotlight” but that Murphy was not one of them.

“I’m angry about that [what Newman said] because I know it is not the way that he [Bob] would like to portray himself, it’s not the way he wants to be portrayed by other people as well,” he said.

“It was the emotion of the occasion that dragged him in.”

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