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More to Macrae than numbers: Murphy

Macrae marvellous in Ballarat (Rd7) Western Bulldogs' Jack Macrae racked up 40 disposals in his side's nine-point win over the Gold Coast Suns

He’s been the talk to the town this week, Jack Macrae, but Bob Murphy wants you to know that there’s more to the 23-year-old’s game than his video-game like possession numbers.

Speaking on this week’s episode of the Freedom in a Cage podcast, Murphy said the one thing that goes unnoticed about the former Oakleigh Charger is how tough he is, especially this season where he has absorbed a regular physical barrage from opposition defenders.

“The thing I notice about Jack is how much punishment he takes,” Murphy said.

“He does hold onto the ball for a while because he wants to see what options he’s gets, and that’s a different kind of courage, but you watch him, he gets an enormous amount of punishment. 

“Clubs just bury him and they hit him, and without any fuss at all he just dusts himself off and will just get there again, and do the same thing again and just keep doing it and doing it.”

But it is hard to ignore the numbers.  Macrae has had 30 or above every game this season except for in Round 5 where he had 26, and on Saturday in Ballarat he had 40, including career-highs of 25 contested possessions, 12 clearances and 178 Champion Data Ranking points.  

“He’s been called the most in-form midfielder in the competition and it’s hard to disagree with that,” Murphy said.  

So far in 2018 Macrae leads the Dogs in disposals (32), contested possessions (13.1 per game), clearances (6.1 pg), is second in metres gained (401 pg), marks (6.1 pg) and tackles (5.9pg).

But despite Murphy calling him ‘the most confident shy person I’ve just about ever met’, Macrae himself told SEN on Monday he’s got a long list of areas in his game he’s hoping to improve.

“Being a more damaging player and breaking the lines and run and carry, (and) just making more of my possessions, I think that’s what the best midfielders and players in the comp do,” he said.

“Working on goal kicking craft and forward play but also the leadership side of my game is something I’m trying to grow as well.”

The Bulldogs takes on Brisbane this Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.  Click here for tickets and match day information.