He’s grown up as part of the yellow and black army on the hill come grand final day and now Dylan Murdoch gets his chance to shine on the big stage.
The Gundagai junior will play in his first Group Nine grand final on Saturday after forcing his way into a starting position in the Tigers second row this season.
In his rookie year in the top grade, the 19-year-old can’t wait for his first grand final experience.
“I’m quite nervous, but excited,” Murdoch said.
While his teammates have a wealth of experience with grand finals, it is something very new for Murdoch.
Not even in his junior days has be experienced playing in a decider and isn’t quite sure what to expect when he tackles Southcity at Equex Centre
“It will be very different and the first grand final I’ve ever played, especially being in first grade I’d say it will be very fun,” he said.
“I really don’t know what to expect though.”
Rarely missing a Tigers game growing up, being part of a grand final is something Murdoch has dreamed of.
Now he gets his chances as Gundagai looks to end Southcity’s winning run.
“I’ve always wanted to do it and have grown up around footy,” he said.
Gundagai have lost plenty of forward options this season with Cameron Woo going down with a knee in round one, Kieran Pearce moving on mid-season, Brett Eccleston suffering a number of facial injuries in the round 10 loss to the Bulls, plus Blake Dunn has stepped into five-eighth.
Murdoch is still looking to build on his game but hasn’t looked out of place stepping into their experienced boots.
He’s enjoyed being given his shot, but didn’t come into the season with too many expectations.
“I was pretty stoked about it and just happy to run around with the boys,” Murdoch said.
“I was happy to play anything.”
There is a real family link for the young Tiger who will line up beside his cousin, Gundagai captain-coach James Smart.
He’s enjoyed playing alongside him.
“It’s good playing with a bit of family,” he said.
“Brett (Eccleston) is my cousin as well.
“I played the whole year with him before he got hurt and it was good to experience it with him as well.”
Murdoch is looking to give himself a late birthday present.
He celebrated his 19th birthday on Monday and a rare Tigers premiership would be the perfect way to cap off the big week.