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The Fightback 30: Moment 5

Bevo gives his medal to Bob (GF) Nice moment with the coach handing his medal to his injured skipper

To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the famous Footscray Fightback campaign of 1989, Bulldogs fans have voted on the most significant moments for the Club over the last 30 years. 

Today, westernbulldogs.com.au reveals moment 5. 

The Bulldogs will take on Melbourne in Round 17 on a day dedicated to the Fightback – a time which saw an extraordinary fan uprising save the Club from a merger with Fitzroy.

On July 14, Footscray will take on Casey in the VFL, followed by the AFL game at Marvel Stadium. 

VIEW THE ORIGINAL LIST OF 30 MOMENTS 

5. Bevo hands Bob his Jock McHale Medal

The Western Bulldogs' 2016 premiership win was a magical event made up of many magical moments. Perhaps the most magical of all came a little while after the siren sounded to end the Grand Final. 

The Bulldogs players had received their premiership medallions and Jason Johannisen had collected his Norm Smith Medal, and it was time for coach Luke Beveridge to climb the dais and receive the Jock McHale medal as the premiership coach. 

'Bevo' made a wonderfully gracious speech, but even Doggies' fans could be forgiven for not remembering most of it. It was Bevo's final words, and the gesture that followed, that no Bulldog will forget. Just before closing his address and leaving the dais, he paused.

VISIT THE BULLDOGS FIGHTBACK WEB HUB 

"Before I go", he said, removing the medal from around his neck, "I'd like to get Bob Murphy up on the stand. This is yours mate, you deserve it more than anyone." Murphy has made his way up to the stand, pausing to embrace stand-in captain Easton Wood before Beveridge placed the medal around Bob's neck. The three shared a special embrace, before Murphy and Wood lifted premiership cup in triumph, with Bevo looking on proudly. 

For Bob, this was the definition of a bittersweet moment. The Bulldog captain hadn't taken the field since rupturing his ACL in Round 3 against Hawthorn. He had had to watch on from the sidelines as the Bulldogs conquered the Eagles, the Hawks and the Giants through September, before vanquishing Sydney on Grand Final day. Murphy himself later acknowledged that this was both his greatest and worst day in football. 

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Bevo's magnanimous gesture and his words, "you deserve it more than anyone" were not mere tokenism. Though he had been unable to pull on the boots in anger, Murphy had played an integral part in the Dogs winning the flag, his influence and leadership having a profound, positive effect on the entire playing group.554 

The day after the Grand Final, without any fuss, Bob handed the medal back to Bevo, explaining that he couldn't keep the medal, as much as he appreciated the coach's gesture. Three days later, at the Bulldogs best and fairest presentation event, Beveridge pulled the medal from his pocket once more as he spoke to the euphoric fans, and announced that he wouldn't keep the medal either. "The medal will go in the Western Bulldogs museum as a symbol of the camaraderie and respect that Bob has fostered over the course of his career at the Western Bulldogs."

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The medal now has pride of place alongside the premiership cup in the trophy display at Whitten Oval, a permanent testament to the selfless acts of coach, captain and players — acts that took the club to a premiership, one which seemed an impossibility in the days before the Fightback campaign of 1989.

THE FIGHTBACK 30 SO FAR:
MOMENT 6
MOMENT 7
MOMENT 8
MOMENT 9
MOMENT 10
MOMENTS 11-15
MOMENTS 16-20
MOMENTS 21-25
MOMENTS 26-30