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Mature-aged Gold Coast recruit Ryan Davis to line up against West Coast seven years after being dumped

Footballers usually have a point to prove when they come up against the team that delisted them.

In the remarkable case of Gold Coast recruit Ryan Davis, there is no one left at West Coast to prove a point to.

More than six years after he was cut by the Eagles following the 2009 season, Davis will play against his former club in Thursday’s NAB Challenge clash in Joondalup.

Then coach John Worsfold and the entire coaching team from back then are gone, while only six teammates from Davis’ last game with West Coast remain at the club.

“I’ve got nothing to prove to the Eagles. It’s a completely different outfit to what I was introduced to back in 2007,’’ Davis said.

If the hard-running midfielder gets elevated off the rookie list to play for the Suns in Round 1, his 15th AFL game will come 2409 days after his 14th.

“It would be pretty special. I’ve always sort of thought that I could still impact at AFL level, even though I was playing WAFL,’’ Davis said.

“It was a long road to get there, but I wouldn’t be happy with just the one game. It’s just a stepping stone try and be a regular in the seniors.’’

The gap of six years and seven months between matches would be one of the longest in VFL/AFL history, with the only comparable gaps involving war time.

When the 26-year-old last played in Round 21, 2009, the AFL was a 16-team competition.

“The football landscape has changed a fair bit since I was involved. It’s a lot more intense,’’ Davis said.

“I’m coping with the physical side. The body is a lot more mature than what it was.’’

His long road back included six seasons with Swan Districts before a phone call from his manager Nigel Carmody midway through last season that eventually resulted in a rookie draft lifeline from the Suns in November.

“It did sort of come out of the blue. It was all quiet on the western front there for a while, but I suppose if you put in good enough performances consistently, someone’s bound to take notice somewhere,’’ Davis said.

“It’s not at the forefront of your mind, but it was always there. Thinking ‘what if?’ You don’t quite give it away.

“Getting Swans back into the winning circle was more of a goal than to get back into the AFL. I’m just lucky that it’s gone hand in hand I suppose.

“I think I’ve developed quite steadily over the last eight years and especially under Brian Dawson and Greg Harding at Swans, certainly improved my game.’’



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