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Man from the Murray a Rising Star

Go inside Sam Murray's debut Hear from Sam Murray and his proud parents, following his senior debut for Collingwood against Hawthorn in round one, 2018.

It’s been an incredible eight months in the life of Sam Murray.

At the start of last October, he was on Sydney’s rookie list, out of contract and without a senior game to his name.

Fast forward to April 2018, and he is the AFL’s Rising Star nominee for round three.

In the process, he has gone from a low-profile recruit to one of the league’s brightest starters to the new season.

Murray has been rewarded for his outstanding performance against Carlton on Friday night, which saw him collect 21 disposals, seven marks and four tackles in his first win in Black and White.

Indeed, it’s been a fine three weeks for the 20-year-old, who is averaging 20 disposals and four marks in his first three games of senior football.

Murray’s move to Collingwood during the trade period sparked headlines, but as National Recruiting Manager Derek Hine told Collingwood Media, the youngster’s character is perfectly suited to life in the big league.

“It’s really exciting to see the way he is going. I know Sam is really keen to just keep improving. He has had a great start to his career, but it is baby steps at the moment,” Hine said on Monday.

“I know he’s got the temperament to come into a club like Collingwood and to be able to play at the next level and not be affected by the spotlight.

“He’s a great kid who loves playing footy with his mates.

“That’s him in a nutshell.”

Sam Murray collars Carlton's Jed Lamb on Friday night.

Murray arrived at Sydney as a small forward, kicking 16 goals in his first season in the club’s reserves team in 2016.

His reserves coach, Rhyce Shaw, himself a former Magpie, helped mould Murray into a defender in the early rounds of the 2017 season.

The results since have spoken for themselves.

Murray was named in the NEAFL Team of the Year, impressing all with his dash and dare off the back flanks, complemented by his long and accurate left foot.

The Magpies identified Murray as a player to watch early last season, but Hine says it was more than just his pace that made him a trade target.

“It wasn’t only in the way that he was playing, but it was his defensive mechanisms, his confidence – he basically took to it like a duck to water.

“That, combined with being in such a good system with the Swans, who are so professional, really gave us the confidence to chase him and chase him hard.

“I think we’ve got to give Sam a bit of credit here. He has learned a whole new position.

“Yes, he has a basic foundation to his game with his speed, his kicking and his lateral movement, but he has really only played 16-17 games in this new position. That’s all he’s played. He’s still learning and will continue to learn.

“To the coaches’ credit, they have kept encouraging him. Justin Longmuir and Matthew Boyd have been significant in that particular area.”

Sam Murray
Position: Small defender
Born: 2/9/1997
Height: 187cm
Weight: 88kg

The story so far
Hailing from country Victoria, Murray was overlooked for a place in the Murray Bushrangers TAC Cup squad for 2015. Instead, he plied his trade for the Wodonga Raiders, finishing third in the Ovens and Murray Football League’s Morris Medal at the age of 18.

After representing the Ovens and Murray League at Under 19 level in 2015, Murray was selected with pick No. 66 in the November Rookie Draft. He kicked 16 majors playing as a small forward in the NEAFL in 2016 before being swung into defence this season, when he was named in the NEAFL Team of the Year.

Traded to Collingwood at the end of 2017, Murray has begun life at his new club in fine style, earning an AFL Rising Star for his performance against Carlton in round three.

Jaidyn Stephenson and Sam Murray celebrate their first win in a Collingwood jumper.