Bob Murphy not only has a burning desire to play on next year, he also desperately wants to continue as captain of the Western Bulldogs.
Murphy, 33, played his last game of the 2016 season in round three after he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the Dogs’ dramatic loss to Hawthorn.
Tributes flowed for the popular figure in the aftermath, with many fearing his 295-game career was over.
But Murphy recently returned from a holiday in the US where he decided he would extend his career into an 18th season, signing a new one-year deal on Tuesday.
“One of the motivating factors was that I love being the captain,” Murphy told Fox Footy.
“Leading the boys out in front of our supporters … I cannot possibly describe how much of a thrill that is and how much that means every time I do it.
“I would like to be (captain next year) but it’s a decision of the players and the coach.”
And he’s not just coming back for one last curtain call.
“I’ve gotten rid of the ceiling, I’ve gotten rid of the age,” he replied when asked if 2017 was definitely his last season.
“The birth certificate is out – I just want to get healthy again, roll the dice, see if I can get myself fit enough to play again and then see where it goes.
“It’s a wide open road.”
Murphy, last year’s All Australian captain, will turn 35 midway through next season.
Nearly two months have elapsed since Murphy suffered his knee injury and he said he needed some time away from the spotlight to ponder his future.
“For that first while I felt like I just needed more time … privately I could feel myself getting closer to a decision but going away did crystallise it for me,” he said.
“People ask if there was a moment … there wasn’t a moment, there were probably 500 little moments.
“I was just edging closer and closer to it and getting out of town and having a bit of space to think … it just felt right in my gut.
“I’m a gut-feel sort of decision maker and it felt right at that time and I haven’t looked back since then.”
Once Murphy made up his mind, the club didn’t hesitate to offer him a new deal.
“The decision to offer Bob another contract was an easy one because of just how much he brings holistically to this place,” list manager Jason McCartney said.
“He is such an important figure here, both from a leadership perspective but what he also offers as a player.
“It was welcome news for everyone at the club.”