Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 22: Justin Murphy

Justin Murphy playing for the New Zealand Warriors (photo courtesy of Getty Images).

We another interview for you, this time it’s Justin Morgan, a former Canterbury Bulldogs, New Zealand Warriors, Widnes Vikings and Catalans Dragons winger.

The Sydney-born winger enjoyed success as a player and a coach and talks about his rugby league career and life beyond.

In addition, one of his greatest achievements was representing France and he touches on that.

So enjoy; Justin Murphy and his wonderful answers:

1. What is your earliest rugby league memory?

My earliest memories are of playing in the back yard with my brother and my father coaching me.

He played for North Sydney in the 70s. The first game that I remember watching is the 1986 Grand Final with all the Eels kit on.

2. Your debut came in 2000 with the Canterbury Bulldogs; what was the experience like and were you expecting it?

My dream was to play NRL and I left the Broncos for an opportunity.

Before my first NRL game, I hadn’t even trained with the first grade side the night before the game.

Steve Folkes called me and told me I would be playing as Willie Talau got injured.

We played the Brisbane Broncos who were the best team in 2000 and Darren Smith told me to just talk and support.

The game went by so quick. We lost, I got a try and that was my only game in first grade for the Bulldogs but it was a dream come true.

My first NRL game was against my old club, the Broncos.

Then my first game for the Warriors was against my former team the Bulldogs. 

Justin Murphy in his Catalans Dragons jersey (courtesy i

3. You played in the 2002 grand final with the Warriors; what was the grand final experience like despite the unfortunate loss?

It was the most memorable experience of my career to play in a Grand Final.

A few weeks earlier, I had torn a muscle in my abductor and I was unsure if I’d be right.

I missed the first final and came back for the game against Sharks to get into the Grand Final.

My speed still wasn’t 100% and in the Grand Final, I got an intercept and wasn’t confident in going 90m so I sort of submitted.

I wish I  would of backed myself and had a go for the tryline.

Playing in the 2002 Warriors team with great players and the freedom to play with vision was very enjoyable.

We had players like Ali Lauiti’iti,  Clinton Toopi and Stacey Jones who were the best players in their positions in the world.

4. You had a brief stint at Widnes before shining with Catalans; what was your rugby league experience like in France?

My first year was the year before Catalans went into Super League and we were preparing the French players for professional rugby league.

We went through the season undefeated winning the Lorde Derby Cup and the championship.

The only game we lost was in the Challenge Cup to Wigan in a close game.

We trained at St Esteve and I remember a group of us players helped move the gym gear in and set up and paint the place.

The training facilities were not very good.

In our first season in Super League, we had a good group but it was a learning and development stage for the club.

To be in the first ever team for Catalans and to play Wigan in Perpignan and win, is something I’m very proud of.

I was chosen in the 2006 Dream Team and Super League’s Top Try Scorer which I’m also proud of.

Justin Murphy in his Canterbury Bulldogs gear

5. You played at the international level for France; what did donning the Les Bleus jersey mean to you?

My wife is French and we have 3 Australian/French children, so to represent France and play at International level is something I’m grateful for.

6. Living in the South of France now, how do you keep yourself busy work wise? Do you currently have any involvement with rugby league?

We decided to move back to France last year to be closer to my wife’s family and give our children the experience of living in the French culture.

I have been coaching Toulon Marlins in the French Elite 2 division and doing coaching and development at schools.

Former NRL and SL player Justin Murphy

7. If you could give advice to budding rugby league players, what would it be?

Work hard, be dedicated, willing to sacrifice and use setbacks positively to drive your ambitions.

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