New Role For Ryan Murphy

Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 9:15 AM

Ryan Murphy, Claremont’s best first-year player last season when he excelled as a rebounding defender, is likely to be seen in a different role in 2018.

That’s a considered conclusion after watching him in action in a spirited intra-club scratch match at Claremont Oval on Saturday morning.

Coach Darren Harris was keen to experiment with the skilful Murphy and used him as a midfielder, who was immediately under notice with a dashing performance in the opening quarter. He is fast, clever, composed and delights with his precise kicking.

The 20-year-old Murphy played in a back pocket and on a half-back flank last year when he used his pace to break the lines and set up attacking moves.

The Tigers will have an abundance of excellent midfielders this year, including Jye Bolton, Ryan Lim, Kane Mitchell, Jared Hardisty, Tom Curren and Jake Murphy, suggesting that Harris will be able to rotate these players constantly in a bid to maintain great pressure on opposing sides. Ryan Murphy should also get his chance to join this distinguished list.

Ryan Murphy, small of stature but big in talent, resumed playing football in 2017 after taking a year off, following his outstanding display as a midfielder when he was a key figure in Claremont’s 69-point colts premiership triumph over Swan Districts in 2015.

Another interesting and successful experiment made by Harris in last Saturday’s scratch match was the move of the experienced Tom Ledger from his traditional spot on a wing to a back pocket where he was opposed to captain Ian Richardson.

Ledger and Richardson had an intriguing duel, with Ledger frequently under notice and finishing the contest with five marks, 15 kicks and three effective handpasses.

Bailey Rogers, who was resolute and strong on a half-back flank in the first half, was switched into the centre after half-time and impressed with his robust performance.

Nick Winmar shone on a wing and looks set for a fine season. He took six marks, had 13 kicks and made five effective handpasses.

Jordan Law, back in Perth after three years studying in Sydney and playing for Sydney University, gave a wholehearted display as a midfield tagger. He finished fifth in the Claremont colts fairest-and-best award in 2013 and enjoyed a solid season with the reserves in 2014. He is a welcome addition to the senior squad this year.

Curren gave a most encouraging display in his first public appearance for the Tigers. The accomplished midfielder started with a splendid five-kick first quarter and he maintained his high standards in the second term before being used sparingly in the second half. His accurate foot-passing was a feature and so, too, was his wonderful ability to read the play.

A highlight of Curren’s display came at the 16-minute mark of the second quarter when he showed tremendous determination to lunge at the boot of Jordon Reid and smother Reid’s kick, with the ball dribbling out of bounds.

It was extremely heartening to see talented young defender Jack Beeck back in action after missing the entire 2017 season as he recovered from a knee reconstruction. Keifer Yu was outstanding in defence and others to show out in the back lines included Rogers, Haydn Busher, Charlie Le Fanu, Shaquille Morton, Lachie Martinis and Fraser Gilbert.

Several established league players (Jake Murphy, Bolton, Beau Maister, Tom Lee, Hardisty, Jess Laurie, Mitchell, Anton Hamp, Harry McCracken and Jack Richardson) did not take part in the scratch match. Most of them will be fit to play in scratch matches on the next three Saturdays.

By Ken Casellas