The relationship between AFL players and journalists is not always an easy one. Famously, an injured Tony ‘Plugger’ Lockett threw one of his crutches at Eddie McGuire, then a Channel Ten reporter, in the late 1980s.
Yet no mobility aids have ever been hurled between Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy and acclaimed sportswriter Martin Flanagan; the two are firm friends. Perhaps that’s because they have a lot in common – Murphy is an Age columnist as well as a footballer, and Flanagan is an Age columnist as well as an author. As Murphy has observed, there’s only a metre between their perspectives on the game. One is on the fence, the other is on the field.
Murphy’s new book Murphy’s Lore: Tales from the West offers a series of reflections of life on – and at the sidelines of – the football field ... Flanagan’s The Short Long Book is a biography of former Essendon player and Indigenous justice campaigner, Michael Long. Join this sporty double-act for a mid-season discussion of writing and football.
Martin Flanagan is one of Australia’s most respected sports journalists. He was a regular AFL columnist for the Age for many years, and is the author of over a dozen books – most recently The Short Long Book and On Listening – and A Wink From the Universe, about the Western Bulldogs’ remarkable 2016 premiership win.
Martin was born in Tasmania in 1955 and graduated in law from the University of Tasmania in 1975. He lives in Melbourne.
Bob Murphy played for the Western Bulldogs from 2000 to 2017, and was their captain from 2015 to 2017. In 2015, Murphy was named Captain of the Year at the AFLPA Awards, and was also captain of the All-Australian team – the first player ever to collect both honours in the same season. The following year, the Bulldogs won their first premiership in 62 years.
Off the field, Bob has written regularly for the Age. His first book, Murphy’s Lore, was published in 2015.