Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
John Murphy

Known as
John Murphy

20 November 1949 (age 74)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 146d
Last game: 30y 207d

Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 83 kg

Senior clubs
Fitzroy; South Melbourne; North Melbourne

Jumper numbers
Fitzroy: 5
South Melbourne: 1
North Melbourne: 26

Recruited from
Fitzroy (1978); South Melbourne (1979)

Family links
Leo Murphy (Father)Marc Murphy (Son)

John Murphy

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
South MelbourneV/AFL1978-197923401.7443%18.614.573.7414
North MelbourneV/AFL1979-1980980.8989%9.334.002.000

AFL: 7,900th player to appear, 296th most games played, 115th most goals kickedFitzroy: 850th player to appear, 8th most games played, 8th most goals kickedSouth Melbourne: 1,060th player to appear, 547th most games played, 188th most goals kickedNorth Melbourne: 711th player to appear, 656th most games played, 399th most goals kicked

Tough, tenacious, abundantly skilled, and equally adept in a variety of positions, John Murphy was, without doubt, one of the greatest players in the roller-coaster history of the Fitzroy Football Club. His particular forte was winning the ball in strenuous circumstances, and if his use of that ball was occasionally slipshod this was arguably attributable to the immense pressure with which he so often found himself confronted. Between 1967 and 1977 Murphy played 214 VFL games (plus nine state matches for the VFL) and kicked 326 goals for the Lions, mainly across centre, at half forward, or on the ball.

Murphy was Fitzroy's best and fairest award winner a remarkable five times, and club captain from 1973 to 1977. During his final season, however, he spoke his mind once too often when he declared that the club needed to discard certain players if it was to stand any chance of succeeding; as a consequence, at season's end it was Murphy who found himself discarded, and he ended up signing for South Melbourne. 

His season and a half spell with South was subject to severe disruption through injury, but Murphy nevertheless managed to win the club's best and fairest award in 1978. Midway through the 1979 season, after 23 games with the Swans, he was on the move again, this time to North Melbourne, where he spent another severely injury affected year and a half amassing the final nine games of a VFL career which, at its peak, had seen him acknowledged as one of the game's most damaging, and valuable, performers.

In 1981 Murphy was appointed captain-coach of Ulverstone, where he enjoyed a fine season, winning the Wander Medal. John Murphy later coached VFA sides Werribee (1983-5) and Box Hill (1993-8). When Fitzroy's official 'Team of the Century' was announced in 2002, he was named in the centre.

Author - John Devaney


Full Points Footy Publications


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.