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Craig Davis

Career : 1973 - 1975
Debut : Round 14, 1973 vs Hawthorn, aged 18 years, 278 days
Carlton Player No. 840
Games : 42
Goals : 72
Last game : Semi Final, 1975 vs Richmond, aged 20 years, 346 days
Guernsey No. 23
Height : 183 cm
Weight : 76 kg
DOB : October 2, 1954
Leading Goalkicker: 1974


Beginning his fine VFL career at Carlton, Craig Davis (a cousin of Carlton legend Brent Crosswell) went on to play at three other clubs. A slightly built, yet skilful and strong-marking full-forward, he was on the losing side in finals with Carlton, North Melbourne and Collingwood before making a return to senior football with Sydney at the ripe old age of 33.

Davis grew up in Ross, Tasmania and came to Princes Park from the Launceston club in 1972 as a promising 18 year-old wingman or half-forward, scaling 183 cm and 76 kg. Wearing guernsey number 23, he impressed with the Reserves team the following year, and made his senior debut late in the season. His third senior game was the 1973 Qualifying Final against Richmond, and his opponent in Carlton’s forward pocket that day was the Tigers’ hard man (and future Essendon coaching legend) Kevin Sheedy.

By his own admission, Davis hardly touched the ball in the first half of that match, before some direct words from Carlton captain John Nicholls turned things around. “Nick told me to use my pace,” said Davis; “to get out on the lead and just keep running.” It was good advice. Davis kicked three telling goals in the second half and the Blues won by 20 points. We then went on to beat Collingwood in the preliminary final, setting up a rematch with Richmond on Grand Final day.

Playing just his sixth senior game in that ’73 decider, and named at full-forward, Davis ran out onto the MCG in front almost 117,000 fans – only to be bitterly disappointed. Richmond had been comprehensively beaten by Carlton in both their previous finals’ matches, but this time were primed for revenge. Their fanatical attack on the ball and the man proved too much for Carlton, and the Blues went down by five goals.

Two years later, Davis suffered a horrendous head injury in a pre-season practice match, when an opponents knee collected him in a marking contest. Fearing further complications, Carlton’s doctors insisted that his career was over, and the club delisted him after the 1976 season. He had played 42 games in Navy Blue, and kicked 75 goals.

Believing that the medicos were wrong, and that he still had plenty to offer, Davis joined North Melbourne in 1977 and played 10 games for 20 goals in two seasons. Then in 1979 he crossed to Collingwood, where his career was re-ignited. He went on to play a further 102 games for the Magpies (including the 1979 Grand Final loss to Carlton) in five years. During that ’79 final series, Davis had one particularly off day in a Qualifying Final against North Melbourne.

“My kicking that day was atrocious,” he said later. “I kicked seven behinds straight. If I had kicked straight, I might have won that year’s VFL Goalkicking award, because Footscray’s Kelvin Templeton finished the season with 91, and I kicked 87.” In all, Davis booted 251 goals for Collingwood between 1979 and 1983.

Five years after his last game at Victoria Park, Davis caused a minor sensation when he agreed to pull the boots on one more time, in the red and white of the Sydney Swans. At that time the Swans’ young list badly needed experience and direction. Davis provided both in his nine games in 1988, when his 17 goals were a valuable contribution. His final overall career tally was 163 games and 363 goals.

After finally calling it a day as a player, Davis became heavily involved with the administration and promotion of Australian Football in NSW. His son Nick Davis began his fine career at Collingwood, then was a key member of Sydney’s 2005 AFL Premiership team.

Career Highlights

1973 2nd Reserves Best & Fairest
1973 Reserves Best First Year Player Award

Articles: The Fish that Got Away

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Craig Davis | Davis' Blueseum Image Gallery

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Page last modified on Friday 31 of May, 2013 21:08:52 EST by Bombasheldon477259 points .

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