Shannon Murphy - the Breakout Bulldog
The 2021 South Australian National Football League Women’s (SANFLW) season was a breakout year for Shannon Murphy – and within it, there was 1 game that reigned supreme in her mind.
Round 6 of the SANFLW season saw Central District clash with North Adelaide on Adelaide Oval and, despite most people’s predictions, the Bulldogs came away with a 57 to 13 win.
This victory, which is arguably the Bulldogs best win in the SANFLW, was “an unreal feeling”. But it has been just one of many highlights in Shannon’s footballing journey.
Before she was kicking goals on Adelaide Oval, Shannon’s sporting life consisted of netball with a few years of soccer mixed in as well.
“I’ve played netball for about 10 years; it was pretty hard leaving but I knew I had to dedicate my time to footy,” Shannon said when asked about her sporting life before football.
It was a teammate and fellow talented Central’s player, Demi Sonneman, who convinced her to give football a try.
“I originally went out to a couple of training sessions just to get some fitness in, but I loved it,” she said when asked why she decided to play footy. “The atmosphere, the challenge, everything about it.”
Having decided to play football in 2018, it didn’t take long for Shannon to claim her first footy accolade as her team, Salisbury, went on to win the 2018 Division One Premiership.
Then in 2019, Shannon’s impressive start to footy continued as she was named Salisbury’s Most Damaging Player. She didn’t stop there either, as she also earned a sport in Salisbury’s 2019 SAWFL Team of the Year.
Hitting the ground running with her football, it is no surprise that Central District took notice of the young gun and, in 2019, she happily joined the Bulldogs. Shannon would go on to make her SANFLW debut in Round 7 of that season.
Then came 2020, which brought with it a less than favourable year for sport. But it did mark a change for Shannon as she joined Gawler Centrals. Instantly making an impact, she finished her debut season by being named as their Best and Fairest.
However, despite enjoying a dream start to her football, the humble player states that there is “still lots of room for improvement”.
“I’ve just been fortunate enough to play with some pretty talented footballers with some great coaches,” she replied when congratulated on her impressive 4 years of footy.
Gratitude is something that Shannon holds extremely tightly, with the talented Bulldogs’ player giving thanks to “all my coaches”.
“There’s so many to thank and so much I could say about all of them,” she said when asked if there’s anyone she’d like to thank for impacting her footy.
“Maybe just a special mention to my backline coach at Centrals, he just believes in me so much and continues to help me develop.”
“Also, my teammates along the way, specifically Demi Sonneman and Katelyn Rosenzweig, have done a lot for me.”
Having impressed over the previous 3 years, Shannon managed to take things to the next level during 2021 – which has since become her breakout year.
Continuing to impress at the local level, her 2021 season with Gawler Centrals was outstanding and, by her admission, she has “loved every single minute of it”.
“Matt knight has worked tirelessly to help me become a better player,” she said when asked to describe her time with Gawler Centrals. “There’s just a massive support system for me out there, including the players and extended coaches. Been a year to remember.”
Not only has she enjoyed her time there, but she made the most of it as her performances included a premiership and Team of the Year selection for Gawler Centrals – as well as being named as their Best on Ground during their 2021 Grand Final win.
“Again, a moment I’ll never forget,” she said when asked about her Grand Final win. “We were a talented squad but had never played together so we had to work twice as hard leading up to it.”
“It was the reward the girls and our coaching staff deserved for all their hard work, history for our club.”
Shannon also managed to reflect her impressive local form in her SANFLW season, with her 2021 display being her best to date.
Spearheaded by her receiving of Central District’s 2021 Most Determined Award, Shannon played 11 matches this season for a total of 89 touches and averaged a couple of tackles and marks a match.
Impressively, she showed her reliability with the ball in hand since she finished the season with an exceptional 82 per cent disposal efficiency.
“A dream come true really,” she replied when asked about her time with Centrals. “I am super grateful to be out there.”
“I love the playing group; I’ve made some lifelong friends.”
“The coaches again have put so much time and effort into our team and I’m pretty excited to see where we can go with the talent we have coming through.”
So, what is the next chapter for this Breakout Bulldog’s player?
“I think our playing squad is exciting at the moment, we’ve got a bit of a different structure too so I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can go this season.”
The Bulldogs have been threatening to break away, just like Shannon was building up to her breakout season this year.
But regardless of how the Doggies perform, we are sure that Shannon Murphy will continue to be a reliable and passionate part of the team.
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None of these pictures is owned by MWM: All these images have been supplied by the player and were personally taken.