Rarely do delisted players get a second opportunity at the top level.
It’s even rarer when you’ve been out of the AFL system for more than half a decade, left plying your trade at state level.
However at November’s rookie draft, the Gold Coast SUNS threw 26-year-old Ryan Davis an unlikely lifeline, six years after the West Coast Eagles delisted him.
Speaking to SUNS TV, Davis revealed he had learned a lot during his time at Swan Districts in the WAFL.
“(I was) delisted at the end of 2009 and still thought I had a fair bit to go in my football,” he said.
“So I decided to stay in Western Australia and play with Swan Districts and they really developed my game over the last six-to-eight years.
“Was lucky enough to be able to get a second chance six years on.”
Davis knows this is likely his last opportunity to forge a professional career and it’s one he’s determined to grasp with both hands.
The former Eagle was one of the last players on the training track at Thursday’s Members Pre-Christmas training session and with the right levels of fitness and consistency behind him, he wants to play as much senior football as he can in 2016.
“(The goal for 2016 is to be) injury-free,” he said.
“Probably my tank is what I need to improve on the most so get a real good level of fitness there and play really consistent footy and obviously break into the senior side.
“I’m not a spring chicken so I don’t want to be spending too much time in the reserves.”
Davis still describes the experience of training alongside the likes of two-time Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett ‘a bit surreal’, but is soaking up everything he can from the elite midfielders on the Gold Coast SUNS list.
“It’s a bit surreal just seeing the magic they do on the field and be able to rub shoulders with them and learn off them as well so you can’t get much better than that,” he said.
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8:02am May 25, 2016