Selfless great coach

By Yarrawonga Chronicle

Always the team player, premiership coach of 1989 Neil Davis deflected personal praise for guiding the Pigeons to premiers. 

“They were all terrific,” he said of his 20 players who took to the Lavington Sports Oval to beat Wodonga 17.11.113 to 14.13.97 in the grand-final.

“Every player contributed. Great team effort.” 

Last week ‘Davo’ went head-to-head with the Yarrawonga Chronicle’s ‘Moose’ Muir in a question/answer segment regarding the huge 16 points victory achievement.

YC. On the training track in the week leading up to the grand-final was there any change with training, length of time, talks behind closed doors/secretly held tactics?

ND. It remained the same, we wanted to keep this similar to other weeks - pretty sure it was a Tuesday and Thursday at JC Lowe Oval. We focussed on the basics. Keenness and enthusiasm levels were high, we all enjoyed the atmosphere. It was great because it was a new, unusual feeling - we hadn’t been in a Grand Final before. All of the boys were getting around each other, lots of encouragement. There may have been some blokes who were unable to get to training due to injury or travel (distance). I think that there was a lot of support from off the field as well! I didn’t make them carry bricks around the oval, nor push a car around the oval like I did at the start of the season. 

YC. The morning of the big match – how were you feeling? Confident?

ND. Organised, optimistic, hopeful, excited, nervous, proud.

YC. Four points down at three quarter time – how were you feeling?

ND. Determined, within reach.

YC. Your feelings when that siren blew?

ND. Pretty bloody good!

YC. Your comments on the game? Do you want to single any player(s) out for special praise? (I know Sexton and Brunner were absolutely brilliant and prolific ball winners).

ND. They were all terrific. Every player contributed. Great team effort.

YC. Damien Sexton told me you were the best coach he played under. What made you such a great coach?

ND. I don’t know whether I was the best coach. I think it may have been a case of being in the right place at the right time. I was never meant to be the seniors’ coach, I had been appointed as the Thirds’ coach. I do get a real kick out of being a part of a team sport and perhaps this passion had an impact.

YC. Anything else you would like to say?

ND. I really loved the way that it got the community together. Very grateful for the opportunity, as it allowed me to form many great friendships and people around town are very good to me. I enjoyed every minute of it.

The brilliant coaching career of Neil Davis, who played 162 senior matches with the Pigeons, included two grand-final appearances for Yarrawonga seniors and one grand-final appearance - a club first - for the Thirds.