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Murphy: Gibbs in 'great space'

Travis King, AFL Media  November 14, 2016 4:28 PM

Murphy talks pre-season and Gibbs Captain Marc Murphy spoke to the media at Ikon Park today as the senior players returned to pre-season training.

Marc Murphy insists star Carlton teammate Bryce Gibbs is "in a really great space" despite his bid to return home to Adelaide during the NAB AFL Trade Period.

As the Blues' full squad came together on Monday to kick off pre-season training, Gibbs was back in navy blue for the first time since his trade attempt fell through on deadline day.

The 27-year-old, who wanted a move back to South Australia for family reasons, appeared in good spirits on the track at Ikon Park and skipper Murphy was confident Gibbs was in a positive frame of mind.

"I spent a fair bit of time with Bryce in the off-season – especially after the Trade Period – and I think it was a really good chance for him to be away with his mates and have a really good chat about things," Murphy said.

"He's an ultimate professional, Gibbsy, he's been around for 10 years now, played some really good footy for the club and I'm sure he'll get back to those levels – if not go higher – again next year.

"He's a tremendous footballer and person, and he loves the footy club and the footy club love him, so we're rapt to have Gibbsy still with us."

Gallery: Check out the best snaps as Carlton's full squad comes together for pre-season

Murphy denied it had been awkward following Gibbs' trade request and the skipper hoped his long-time teammate would remain in the leadership group for 2017. 

He wasn't concerned that Gibbs, the 2014 club champion and 209-game veteran, would attempt to leave the club again at the end of next season.

"I think that's 12 months away, there's a lot of water to go under the bridge, but at the moment he's in a really great space," Murphy said.

"We'll help him off the field, he'll be a great support to me on the field and off the field, we'll revisit in 12 months but he's still got three more years at the footy club and I'd love to see him finish out the three years here."

 

Carlton's senior players have returned to training a week early to get a headstart for next season and will take extra time off during the Christmas break, with Murphy among those straight back into training for the first time in "four or five years".

The gun onballer has fully recovered from a frustrating ankle syndesmosis injury which he failed to return from after round 10 last season. 

"I've had a really good off-season, I've been running for two months … so my body's feeling in good nick," Murphy said. 

The Blues' four recruits were on the training track on Monday, with ex-Cat Billie Smedts and former Greater Western Sydney defender Caleb Marchbank joining in with the main squad's warm-up. 

Fellow ex-Giants Jarrod Pickett and Rhys Palmer took part in light skills drills away from the main group during the 15 minutes open to media, while star Patrick Cripps looked in excellent condition.

Murphy believed the Blues were "a lot further ahead of where we were last year" heading into coach Brendon Bolton's second season in charge. 

The rookie coach led Carlton to seven wins and 14th spot on the ladder last season.