Murphy played mainly in the ruck and was a member of a Collingwood side which was a force in the VFL during the 1930s. They had just won a premiership when he joined the club and his debut season of 1928 saw them go back to back, with Murphy kicking two goals in their grand final win over Richmond. Collingwood won the flag again in 1929 and 1930 with Murphy a member of both premiership sides. He missed out on the 1935 premiership after being injured and again the following year due to suspension. At the end of 1937 he left the club and joined Nhill as captain-coach before making a brief return to the league in 1941 with Footscray.