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Publisher's Summary

Through nine years as a columnist with The Age, Bob Murphy revealed himself to be a very different footballer indeed. Shunning the stern-faced statistical analysis that dominates the AFL landscape, he revisited the things about the game that captivated him as a child. His words were the smells of leather and liniment leaping off the page. Gentle, romantic, funny, whimsical, thoughtful, sad - Murphy’s writing is rich, tender yet powerful, above all achingly human. 

In Leather Soul, he uses moments and events from the last three years of his 312 game career - his three seasons as Western Bulldogs captain - as trigger points to revisit his early career and wander back through his youth, exploring along the way the people and places that have shaped him, from his former priest and nun parents, to wife Justine and their three children, to the teammates and mentors that colour a footballer’s life. 

How did the country kid with a gypsy’s heart, who carried his footy gear under his arm because he didn’t even have a bag, become an All-Australian captain? How does it feel to turn an opponent inside out with a shimmy of the hips, to connect boot to ball with the crispness of a musical note, to watch it sail majestically through the goals? How do you reconcile the club you love achieving the one thing you’ve truly longed for when you’re a spectator, broken of body and heart? How does it feel to know you can no longer do the things that made you great, that the sun is setting and it’s time to go? 

The great Australian football bard Martin Flanagan has long insisted Bob Murphy has a book in him like no footballer has written. Leather Soul proves him right. 

Cover photograph by David Cook.

©2018 Bob Murphy (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely LOVED this book

such an easy to listen to book about a true hero of the game. Great book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A good story from a good bloke

Extraordinary circumstances of the 2016 AFL Grand Final were always going to lend itself to some good stories. This is a good story told with refreshing raw honesty. Could have done with less flourish and metaphors though...and maybe this is where the editor could have been more forthright. All up, a nice job Bob!

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Power Boy To Man Of Dogs

Bobs touching autobiographical account has tears, joy, inner sanctum and laughs. It’s much more of what you love about Bob and more of what you seek to understand about how the greatest players in the game go about it