300 up for Murphy when Bulldogs host Lions

Rohan Smith was a veteran of 166 games when Bob Murphy made his AFL debut for the Western Bulldogs in round 19 of the 2000 season.

The Dogs got up by three points over Carlton in a thriller at Princes Park that day, Murphy gathering 13 possessions and kicking a goal.

Nearly 17 years later, Smith, a member of Luke Beveridge’s coaching panel, is delighted he will be on hand to welcome Murphy in to the Bulldogs’ 300-game club when they take on Brisbane at Etihad Stadium.

Smith played his 300th and final game in a losing semi-final against West Coast in 2006 and Murphy will become the seventh member of the exclusive club on Saturday.

“I remember the first time he walked in to the gym, he couldn’t do a chin up; he was that skinny,” Smith told AAP.

“I don’t think he could do one rep of a 60kg bench press … it was just hilarious.

“But to see him grow in to the man that he’s become is really special for me.

“I saw him come in as an 18-year-old kid and now he’s the oldest player in the AFL.

“I’ll be there to congratulate him … it’s an amazing achievement and something he thoroughly deserves.

“I think he’s probably the most selfless person I’ve known.”

In typical fashion, Murphy has been at pains to make sure the round five clash is not all about him.

The Dogs improved to a 3-1 record with a hard-fought win over North Melbourne on Good Friday and face a Lions side that have been more competitive than their 1-3 record suggests.

“They’re taking the game on and looking to move the ball a bit quicker under Chris Fagan,” Smith said.

“Those more-experienced guys in their midfield are nice and tough, so our midfielders are going to have to be switched on but that’s something that we pride ourselves on.

“I think it will be a good duel.

“Every team that we come up against now are bringing their best … that’s what happens when you win the premiership.”

The Dogs will shuffle their forward line-up with Travis Cloke (ribs) replaced by defender Shane Biggs.

The Lions added Ryan Harwood, Ryan Bastinac and Liam Dawson to the side beaten by Richmond at the Gabba last week.

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