Murphy's Bulldogs return up in the air - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Murphy's Bulldogs return up in the air

By Justin Chadwick 30/03/2009 04:19:27 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs forward Robert Murphy could miss the first month of the AFL season due to a slower than expected recovery from off-season knee surgery.

Murphy, who underwent surgery on his patella tendon last October, was a late withdrawal from the Dogs' 63-point win over Fremantle in Perth.

Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade hopes Murphy will be ready to resume playing duties in a fortnight but said the 26-year-old may have to prove his fitness at VFL side Williamstown first before earning a senior recall.

"He came over (to Perth) but we didn't really think he'd play," Eade said.

"It's going to be an interesting one.

"I know coaches can tell some porky pies at times and play some ducks and drakes but really it's going to be one (where) he could be right next week or he could be right in three weeks.

"His thigh needs to get stronger, he needs to get more confidence.

"His fitness levels are OK, so once that's attainable he'll be able to play.

"It could be next week, it's more likely round three, but It could be round four or it might be round two.

"I don't know. It's one of those ones where he could turn the corner quickly.

"And he might play at Williamstown (first), we're not too sure.

"Once he gets that confidence and strength in his leg, I've got no doubt he'll play.

"When that is I'm not too sure."

Eade said the club would take every precaution with Murphy to ensure he doesn't suffer a reoccurrence of the injury.

"I think we've got to be fair on him," Eade said.

"We don't want to play him and then he misses the next week, and becomes one week on, one week off.

"We want to have some continuity with him.

"So it's one of those ones where you go forward two steps, back one step.

"A couple of weeks ago he went back two steps and it's taken a bit longer to go forward.

"He's turned that corner, he's OK.

"There's just a few strength issues in his leg.

"We are fairly confident he'll be able to play at least within two weeks."

Despite Murphy's absence the Bulldogs still managed 25 goals against the Dockers, with 12 players hitting the scoresheet.

Mitch Hahn finished with five goals while Lindsay Gilbee (three), Nathan Eagleton (three), Ryan Griffen (three), Daniel Giansiracusa, Jason Akermanis and Shaun Higgins (two apiece) helped share the load in an impressive performance from last year's preliminary finalists.

The Bulldogs will be looking to make it two wins on the trot when they take on North Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.

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