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Bob Murphy: The best Dog debuts

FIAC | JJ on his love for Lebron On this week's episode of Freedom in a Cage, special guest Jason Johannisen spoke to Bob and Chris about where his love for basketball and Lebron James originated from

Western Bulldogs legend Bob Murphy has returned for the 2019 season to pen a weekly article for  Here is his first instalment.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  At least, that’s what an old footy coach used to tell me when describing the game of Australian Rules Football.

Much like the world around us, the modern game moves at an ever-increasing pace.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

The eve of Round 1 is the perfect time to spend a moment thinking about one of the sacred touchstones in football that hasn’t changed, and will outlive us all.


Ask any player from the AFL or the AFLW what it is like to receive your jumper that you will wear on debut, and you will get a sense of just how precious it is.

One day, the idea of playing a professional game in the big league is played out in your imagination or maybe even your dreams, and then the next day you are being handed the most prestigious symbol a club has, by one of its elders.

In your hands you hold the colours of your clan.  A jumper that has been handed down from one generation to the next, and so on and so forth.

Bailey Smith will be the next player in a long line of custodians to take on the responsibility of wearing the red, white and blue.  We wish him all the best.

Like many of you, I get the feeling we will be watching this explosive young talent for many years to come.


But it’s one thing to play your first game, and it’s a whole other thing to dominate in your first outing.

So, the question I put to you is, which Bulldogs debut is the best of them all?  Here are the nominees. 

John Georgiades

Round 1, 1989 vs Carlton
22 disposals, eight goals and three Brownlow Medal votes 

Jason Tutt

Round 22, 2011 vs Port Adelaide
26 disposals, four goals (three with his first three kicks) and one Brownlow Medal vote 

Clay Smith

Round 1, 2012 vs West Coast
13 disposals and four goals 

Brett Goodes

Round 1, 2013 vs Brisbane Lions
24 disposals and one Brownlow Medal vote

Coinciding with Bailey Smith’s debut, and Round 1, is the return of the hit podcast Freedom in a Cage.

Alongside me in the caravan this year is Bulldogs fan and former NBL/NBA star, Chris Anstey.

We’ll be launching a poll on our brand-new Twitter page to find out which Bulldog debut was the greatest of them all.

See you at the footy.