As GIANTS co-captain Phil Davis celebrates his 150th AFL game, we look back at his career so far and speak to a few of his former teammates about the courageous leader.
Drafted by Adelaide with pick 10 of the 2008 NAB AFL Draft Davis was unlucky not to make his debut in 2009 with a shoulder injury delaying his AFL debut until round four, 2010.
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Davis made a good first impression collecting 16 disposals and taking seven marks, but it was it was his impressive performance in shutting down Geelong’s Cameron Mooney in round 16 that earned him a Rising Star Nomination.
Former Adelaide teammate turned Geelong Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield recalls: “As far as I know he’s the only NAB Rising Star Nominee to get dropped the following week.”
Ahead of @phildavis_1's hard-earned 150th game tomorrow, former teammate and current good mate @dangerfield35 reminds the world of a fun piece of trivia about the now GIANTS leader.#NeverSurrender #Davis150 pic.twitter.com/wFit7Jni4v— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) May 17, 2019
After playing three games in 2011, Davis required a shoulder reconstruction that saw him miss the remainder of the season.
In August of that year Davis revealed he would be joining the GIANTS as one of the club’s uncontracted player signings.
Ahead of the club’s first season, Davis was named co-captain alongside Callan Ward and Luke Power.
In paying tribute to his former Crows team mate, Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs said it was a decision that didn’t come as a surprise to those that have seen Davis up close.
“You talk to the old guys, you talk to the young guys,” he said.
“You’re unique in that you talk to anyone and that’s one of your great characteristics.”
While Davis would play in all 22 of the GIANTS games in its inaugural season, injury would hamper his following three seasons.
The brave Canberran would miss 12 weeks of football in 2014 after rupturing his kidney following a collision in the history 2014 derby which saw the GIANTS down the Swans for the first time.
As Davis has recounted many times, had surgery to save his kidney not been successful he would have retired prematurely.
Thankfully for GIANTS fans but unfortunately for the competition’s best forwards, Davis has barely missed a beat in recent years as he’s lead the team from the competition’s easy beats to consistent finals contenders.
Davis’ battles with the competition’s leading forwards across his career have been fascinating, be it against Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt or West Coast’s Josh Kennedy, however the most intriguing has been his battles with Swans forward Lance Franklin.
The headline contest of many Sydney Derbies, Davis’ crowning moments would be his effort to keep Franklin goalless in two finals, the 2016 Qualifying Final and the 2018 Elimination Final.
Off the field Davis has risen through the ranks of the AFLPA to sit on the Players Board while developing a reputation as one of the AFL’s most impressive modern thinkers.
His work with the Seven Network and Fox Footy as well as his weekly podcast The Footy Phil has seen the key defender praised for his ability to lead on the field while informing the footy public and shaping the conversation off it.
Hawthorn's @jackgunston and Ricky Henderson congratulate former Crows teammate and now long-serving GIANTS co-captain Phil Davis on his 150th game.— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) May 18, 2019
And yes, 150 is correct, guys #NeverSurrender #Davis150 pic.twitter.com/0OVc1enDqZ