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Leon Davis
Personal information
Birth 17 June 1981 (1981-06-17) (age 28)
Western Australia
Recruited from Perth (WA)
Height and weight 177cm / 80kg
Playing career¹
Debut Round 1, 13 March 2000, Collingwood vs. Hawthorn, at Melbourne Cricket Ground
Team(s) Collingwood (2000-)

184 Games, 236 Goals

¹ Statistics to end of 2009 season
Career highlights

2008 Goal of the Year, AFL Hall Of Fame Tribute Match (Dream Team)

Leon Davis (born 17 June 1981) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League.

Drafted to Collingwood in 1999 as a small forward, Davis is of Aboriginal heritage. Davis made an early impression at the Pies and played Round 1 in his debut season. He showed what he was capable of turning a match but also that he was inconsistent. He could light up a game and determine a result, or he could shut off for 4 quarters and have zero impact. Despite being dropped several times, he still notched up just fewer than 40 games in his first two seasons and almost a goal a game on average.

Nicknamed "Neon Leon" for his exciting style of play, he is a cult figure of sorts amongst Magpies supporters. In particular, Triple M commentator and former player, Brian Taylor who is a friend of Davis, is a huge fan of his. During Triple M's coverage of a Collingwood game he claims that Davis is his man, that he is "the ignitor" of Collingwood and will get excited about anything he does no matter how spectacular or how ordinary the piece of play was. For example if Davis is barely involved in a good piece of play (for example an ordinary hand ball to an open player) he will claim that Davis made that goal and he has ignited the team. The Triple M team also like to talk about Taylor's experience with Leon at Taylor's rural property where Davis hunts kangaroos.

In 2002 he played 23 games for the season including the Grand Final, but didn't get a touch of the ball for the entire game of a lifetime, in what almost saw a premiership. He kicked 31 goals for the year, including consecutive bags of 4 goals mid-season. The media still talk about his game in the 2002 Grand Final, but never mention the Game that got Collingwood to that Grand Final. Collingwood entered the finals in 4th place and had to Face ladder leader and premiership favourite Port Adelaide in Adelaide. Leon Davis was one of Collingwood's instrumental players in the upset win kicking 3 vital goals, including the last goal to seal Collingwood's upset victory. One of the luckiest turn of events in 2003 however saw Davis come from the reserves straight into the Preliminary final side, after 3 months, but once again, had no impact in the Grand Final. Despite lack of form, 'neon Leon' played 19 games in a dismal 2004 for the Pies, he still managed 23 goals.

In 2005 he started well, but a wrist injury forced him out for a month, but never broke back into the side until late in the season. He did however bring up his 100th game, becoming the first indigenous Australian to do so for Collingwood. He also encountered trouble with radio commentator Rex Hunt over an incident in which Hunt called Davis 'as black as a dog' during the call against Essendon mid-way through the season.

Davis had a solid start to the 2006 season, showing his true value to the side in the first-half. He had an interrupted second half however, with a thigh injury sustained against Richmond, the same match he was in a contest with Chris Newman which resulted in Newman breaking his leg. Davis would then be dropped after coming back into the side, but forced his way back in a week later. He made an impression in the midfield, before he would fracture his fibula/ankle and couldn't get back on the track for finals. He kicked 23 goals in 15 games.

In 2007 Davis' role has moved further up the field from his customary small forward role. The year has seen him given substantial game time in the 'engine' alongside experienced players such as Scott Burns. Though not overly effective in the crucial clearances aspect of his new engine role, Davis has shown a fitness level that has enabled him to run out games (with rotations) as a midfielder with his forward role slowly taking a back seat. Despite this change of roles, Davis has maintained his ability to get forward from the midfield and kick several inspirational goals and thus maintaining and improving on his yearly average of 20 goals with a 29 goal year from 21 games featuring two 'bags' of 4 goals in rounds 10 and 16. In addition Davis has also been ranked highly in the league for tackles inside the forward 50 metre arc. Davis' 29 goal year is his best for 5 years since his 2002 tally of 31 goals from 23 matches.

In 2008 Davis was chosen to play for the AFL Dream Team in the AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match in the number 1 guernsey. Davis kicked several goals and, along with Matthew Pavlich, Lance Franklin and Brett Kirk played at his usual high standard in an otherwise disappointing team who eventually went down to Victoria despite leading for a large part of the game.

Davis is a renowned specialist at the "banana kick" shot at goal which has earned him several nominations for "Goal Of The Year".

In 2008, he came 4th in the Copeland Trophy count, Collingwood's Best and Fairest award. He also was awarded the AFL goal of the year for his round 22 goal against Fremantle, where he tackled and harassed Des Headland to dispossess him, paddled the ball along the other side of Headland, scooped up the ball with one hand while dodging another lunging Fremantle player, ran inside 50 on the boundary line and hit a low and hard kick from a tight angle for a goal. He re-signed with the Magpies for 2 years until 2011.

In 2009, he featured in the official advertisement for the AFL, contesting the Australian football against Kieren Jack along the floor of on an ice hockey rink.

Leon Davis's career has been taken to new heights in season 2009, being one of Collingwood's best and most influential players in the team, has ability to play in the midfield and kick goals when he goes forward is extraordinary. A credit to a man who improved his fitness over the preseason, Davis has been nominated in the squad of 40 for the 2009 All Australian Team.

After agruably his best season to date Leon Davis has earnt himself a spot in the AFL All-Australian team, Davis was selected as one of the Forward Pockets.

See also

External links

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