THE OCCASIONAL chat with his 12-year-old self has helped inspirational Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy reach 300 games.
Murphy will become the seventh Bulldogs star to reach the milestone when he leads his team out against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday at Etihad Stadium.
The 2015 All-Australian captain's career was in doubt when he needed his second knee reconstruction just over a year ago.
But Murphy is in no doubt about how lucky he is and the 34-year-old has not skipped a beat since returning this season.
"I've tried to check in with the 12-year-old self every now and again," Murphy said.
"Footy is a hard game and unrelenting, there's a lot of pressure internally, externally.
"I've tried to look at it through the lens of how I was when I was 12 - how fortunate I would have felt at that age to still be playing.
"It's not everything, but it's something I've done over the years."
Murphy was the spiritual heart of the Bulldogs' historic flag last year and coach Luke Beveridge famously presented him on the dais with his premiership medallion.
Beveridge was asked if this was the "week of Bob" at the Bulldogs ahead of the milestone.
Murphy, standing next to him, mock-glared at his coach and joked: "If you say yes, I will spew".
Beveridge said they usually do not make a big deal of player milestones ahead of games, but confessed in Murphy's case it was more tricky.
"There's no doubt Bob is a bit different to most milestones,"' Beveridge said, also noting Murphy is the first 300-gamer at the club to wear the No.2 guernsey.
"It's an incredible milestone - I don't know that I've played 300 since under-10s.
"There's no doubt his teammates will feel inspired by the feat but we just have to make sure we wade through how emotional we get about the whole thing."
Beveridge praised the character of his much-admired skipper.
"He's a unique man - the reason he's so universally adored, there is that emotional, empathetic, spiritual side to Murph that we all tap into here and there," Beveridge said.
"We all aren't that creatively-minded.
"But then there is a grunt to him that you probably don't see.
"There is that 'put on the war paint' attitude on game day."