Bob Davis (Australian rules footballer)
|Full name||Robert Davis|
|Date of birth||12 June 1928|
|Place of birth||Golden Point, Victoria|
|Date of death||16 May 2011(aged 82)|
|Place of death||Geelong, Victoria, Australia|
|Original team(s)||Clunes (CHFL)/ Golden Point (BFL)|
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||91 kg (201 lb)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1958.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 1965.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Bob Davis was born in Clunes and as a teenager he boarded and attended at Ballarat College. A keen South Melbourne supporter he attended a preseason training with the club but wastold his services would not be necessary. He returned to Ballarat and played locally with Golden Point. He was spotted by Geelong recruiters and he was invited to try out with Geelong.
Nicknamed "Woofa", Davis was recruited from Golden Point in the Ballarat Football League and played with the Geelong Football Club in the VFL from 1948 to 1958, generally as a half-forward flanker.
He made his debut in the opening round of 1948, on a two match permit issued by his club Golden Point. He missed the next two games because Golden Point refused to clear him. The Geelong president met with the Golden Point committee, and after a long discussion Davis's clearance was granted. He made the state side for the first time in 1949
At 183 cm (6 feet) in height, Davis was noted for his pace and tenacity. He was one of the fastest players in the League at the time, and was known in the press as "The Geelong Flyer", named after the express train that ran from Melbourne to Geelong in only 55 minutes.
Davis represented Victoria on 13 occasions, as well as the captaining Geelong from 1955–1958. He played in two premierships for Geelong, in 1951 and 1952. He also coached the club, first in 1956, and then from 1960 to 1965, which included coaching Geelong to the VFL premiership in 1963, defeating Hawthorn.
In 1952, after playing only 51 games for Geelong, Davis was offered a coaching job with the South Adelaide Football Club in the South Australian National Football League. He moved to Adelaide for the start of the 1952 season, but after Geelong refused to clear him, he returned to Geelong in time for the sixth game of the season, and remained there for the remainder of his career.
During his career, Davis was a popular character off the field, with his much-imitated flamboyant voice – in particular the phrase "fair dinkum unbelievable", which has been imitated many times in the football world, usually with humorous but respectful intent. He appeared on many television shows in the 1970s and '80s, including World of Sport and League Teams with Lou Richards and Jack Dyer.
He died in hospital on 16 May 2011 after a long battle with illness in his last months. Before the Carlton-Geelong game later that week they held a minute's silence.
Clunes Football Club Davis's original club scrapped their traditional Black and White for a one off tribute game post his death. They donned Geelong style jerseys for 1 game, and displayed both clubs logos and the name Bob Davis on the back.
- Anderson, Jon; Langmaid, Aaron (17 May 2011). "Cats legend Bob Davis dies". Herald Sun. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- "Cats to hold flanker". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 19 January 1952. p. 12. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- Australian Associated Press (17 May 2011). "Cats legend Davis dies". ABC News. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- "The 'Geelong Flyer'". Rail Geelong. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- Brodie, Will (17 May 2011). "Cats legend Bob Davis passes away". The Age. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- "DAVIS JOB WAITS". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 4 March 1952. p. 9. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- "Davis Accepts Geelong's". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 31 May 1952. p. 1. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- "Davis Not For South". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 10 February 1953. p. 6. Retrieved 20 May 2011.