Move on, but leave no one behind.
Injured Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy has spoken of the theme at the AFL club this week as they cope with last Saturday night’s trauma, as well as prepare for the massive game against Geelong.
Their upset 15-point loss to St Kilda was nothing compared to the devastating atmosphere in their changerooms after the match.
Mitch Wallis was still in the rooms, yelling in agony from the broken leg he suffered during the last quarter and clearly audible to his teammates.
Fellow Bulldog Jack Redpath had also suffered a serious knee injury during the match.
Like Wallis, Redpath has needed surgery and his season is over.
“The theme of the week really has been `we move on, but no one gets left behind’,” Murphy told AFL360.
“It’s a really important distinction to make.
“This footy team has to play Geelong on Friday night in a massive game and there’s still plenty of life in this season for our footy club.”
The Bulldogs remain top-four contenders, despite a horrible run of injuries that included Murphy’s knee reconstruction in the first month of the season.
“Every year, every footy team, every player, you kind of go in with the armour on, that the footy season is a roller-coaster,” he said.
“But this year has been extreme, with the injuries – the amount and then the severity of them, the circumstances.
“We’ve been a resilient team and a resilient club.
“It just tests that a little bit more.”
Murphy was in the rooms after Saturday night’s game and said he had never encountered anything like it in his 17-year AFL career.
Coach Luke Beveridge has admitted to feeling plenty of emotion in the wake of what happened.
“It’s off the radar of what you’re prepared for as a footballer,” Murphy said.
“It really was a double blow that’s hit us, no doubt about it.
“It just heaps more emotion on the bonfire.”
Murphy said the players met for lunch the following day and Redpath lifted spirits by also visiting.
“It was a day to have a couple of beers, put an arm around each other and let each other know we’re all okay,” he said.
The Bulldogs play in Geelong, with the Cats determined to honour Jimmy Bartel’s 300th game and Corey Enright’s club-record 326th match.
Murphy is adamant they will be ready.
“You either believe or you don’t. We’ve said for a long time we have a lot of depth at our footy club,” he said.
“This team has shown that one falls down, one steps straight in and we get good results.
“It’s a challenge, of course it is, but we actually believe we’re good enough to beat anyone.”