Day arrives for Carlton's anointed one
Former Carlton captains stand behind new captain Marc Murphy. From left to right are Anthony Koutoufides, Mark Maclure, Stephen Kernahan, John Nicholls and Chris Judd. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Anthony Koutoufides knew this day would come after Marc Murphy's first season.
Murphy had some growing up to do, like most 18-year-olds, but the manner in which the No.1 draft pick carried himself during his debut season in 2006 was enough to convince then-captain Koutoufides the emerging star would one day follow in his footsteps.
That day was Wednesday, when the Blues unveiled Murphy as Chris Judd's successor. ''I always thought he would become captain,'' said Koutoufides, who led the Blues from 2004-2006.
''There are some that maybe walk in a bit more mature, but over the years he's just matured into such a terrific player and person. And he is a very humble person, too.''
If Murphy was under any illusions about the pressure and legacy he was about to inherit as Carlton skipper, it was staring him in the face at Wednesday's press conference.
Shoulder-to-shoulder with president Stephen Kernahan, the club's longest-serving captain, a humbled Murphy spoke in front of Blues greats such as John Nicholls, Mark Maclure, and Koutoufides.
''To be put up with those names, it is a pretty big honour. It's special,'' Murphy said.
And if there was any doubt about the 25-year-old's hunger for the job, that too, was quickly dispelled.
''I've been involved in leadership groups since my second year at the club,'' the 2011 best and fairest said.
''I've had six years of sitting in on leadership meetings, so it's been a massive aspiration to one day, hopefully, captain the club. It's something I've always wanted to do.''
Kernahan predicted that Murphy could grow into a five-year captain. ''I think Murph is in the perfect time in his career to do this - he's 25, played 140-odd games … it's a really good time for him to take this footy club to another level,'' he said.
In the end, the decision on the new Blues captain came down to an extremely close call between Murphy and midfielder Andrew Carrazzo, with Murphy winning out as the longer-term appointment against the short-term option of 29-year-old Carrazzo.
Elder statesmen Kade Simpson and Carrazzo will support Murphy as dual vice-captains, while key forward Jarrad Waite has been added to the five-man leadership group completed by defender Nick Duigan.
''I'm a very competitive person, I'm not one of the most vocal blokes at the club, but I think I lead by example,'' Murphy said.
''I find once I get over that white line I'm pretty vocal, it's more just about the day-to-day things around the club where I have to step up a bit more.''
Coach Mick Malthouse said the biggest challenge Murphy would face was recognising when to separate professionalism from friendship in dealing with his teammates.
''This is not about who the best player is, it's about who is the best leader,'' Malthouse said. ''Marc is very well respected and admired within the organisation.''
Malthouse dispelled suggestions that Murphy might not be the type of personality the coach had typically wanted to lead his teams in the past. ''The captains I've had have all been very competitive, they all have a care for their teammates. They are winners, they all want to play in a highly successful side, and all those captains have been 'we' not 'I'. And Marc is no exception.''