Billy Murphy: Opportunity Knocks

Footy is as much about patience and anticipation as it is ability. If you keep working both on and off the park your efforts will be rewarded and your opportunity will come.

For young Hawk Billy Murphy, a product of Ivanhoe Grammar and the Northern Knights, that means finding himself on the cusp of adding to his three senior games for the Club he joined in 2015, having built a compelling case in the back half of last season and early stages of this.

Best afield in the Box Hill development squad’s Grand Final win in 2016, and with a cameo for the Senior squad in pre-season under his belt, 2017 is shaping as the year opportunity knocks for Murphy.

In the off-season 20-year-old Murphy, who studies Exercise Science and is building a fitness business, resolved to focus on and be driven by his love of the game.

“I try not to over-think and stress out about every game, or get caught up in the politics of football,” Murphy said.

“I made it a huge focus to play because I love the game. (I’ll) control the things I can control, enjoy my football and play to my strengths.”

With that attitude front of mind it’s impossible to ignore the results.

Murphy’s fine start to the season continued this past Saturday during the development squad’s 78-point demolition of the visiting Coburg Lions.

To three quarter time Murphy’s hard running, explosive style had helped his side to a near unassailable lead. He had kicked three and been one of the Hawks’ best.

His day was far from finished, however, as the hosts kicked 7.11 to the Lions’ 4.3 in a manic final term. The leading goal kicker at the final siren? The blonde haired kid in the Box Hill number three, whose seven goals (yes, seven) left little doubt as to who was best on ground.

“Just one of those days where the ball falls your way,” is how Murphy humbly explained it.

Adding to the drama was word of an unidentified ailment. Was it a strain? A virus? Or an existential dilemma? Depends who you spoke to. The man himself put pay to the more fanciful theories, phrasing it as only he can.

“I felt like a genuine potato trying to run around. It was a chest infection and I had no energy,” he says.

“I was lucky enough to find myself playing forward in the second half and snagged a few cheapies.”

Perhaps the how and the why things fell his way owes itself to the player’s own explanation of his approach to the contest.

“I like to stay as intense around the footy as I can, create havoc in defence or something great offensively,” Murphy says.

“I love to take the game on; if there’s grass in front of me I’ll take it.”

Mission accomplished.

Murphy is almost impossible to miss out on the field on account of his blonde mop of hair and how he plays the game. His style is an all action, awesome and unmissable combination of power and speed, both of which he uses to devastating effect.

His personality is just as potent off field. You’re unlikely to have a conversation with Murphy that doesn’t involve some friendly joking and plenty of fun.

“Being able to have a laugh and surrounding myself with people who don’t take life too seriously is a big thing for me,

“Particularly when both life and football can throw some pretty challenging curve balls at times.”

It is in that spirit that he pots then praises best mate Xavier Dimasi, before turning his sights on senior coach Chris Newman.

“’Newy’ is absolute quality. He’s extremely approachable, honest and driven. He’s set incredible standards amongst the group.

“He embraces banter, too, which is a huge tick from me.”

Understandably, and with that in mind, the two don’t see eye-to-eye on everything.

“He definitely needs to sort out a new haircut, though. He looks like a choc top at times.”

Jokes (briefly) aside, Murphy’s aims for 2017 are crystal clear.

“I want to play more senior games than development. It’s great to play senior footy, and you know playing at that level the effort and commitment from you and your teammates is non-negotiable.”

As for whether a repeat of last week’s goal-kicking heroics is likely, Murphy holds his deadpan delivery just long enough before cracking a big smile and a trademark laugh.

“I’ll settle for nothing under ten this week!”

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