There will more than likely be a tear or two shed with pride when off season recruit Matt Davis officially wears the number 20 Vermont guernsey for the first time. The 23 year old is the grandson of Ray Connolly, whom also wore the number twenty in purple and gold back in round one 1955, in what would prove to be the Eagles maiden premiership success year. Connolly, a healthy 81 years of age and residing in Patterson Lakes was absolutely elated after learning the news that Davis would be spending 2013 at Terrara Road. But just when that elation turns into reality is still on hold as the hard running midfielder is slowly overcoming a training mishap. "I just sort of twisted my knee at training in a pot hole and really didn't think much of it explained Davis.
"After a few weeks it wasn't getting any better so l decided to see a physio and they told me that l had torn my meniscus which is one of the muscles in front of my knee. I spoke to KB (Kris Barlow) and he said go and speak to a surgeon and see what he says. I had an MRI and was told that l had a tear in my medial cartilage and in a space of ten days went from meeting the surgeon having an MRI scan and then the scrape.
I've set myself back a bit but l've always been a fit player so it’s more like the game stuff that l will be behind on". Despite his set back, Davis continues the impressive array of talent brought into the club this season. Hailing from Mt.Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula where he played his junior football, his ability at this level was rewarded with a two year stint in the TAC Cup system with the Dandenong Stingrays (2006-07). Moving into senior football and it was off to Frankston in the VFL. Spending a total of three seasons with the Dolphins, Davis established himself as a senior regular after failing to get a look in during debut year. Having played under three coaches (Brett Lovett, Shannon Grant and Simon Goosey) Davis decided to leave Frankston at the end of the 2010 season. "I got over the training three nights a week and the rehab day, l just wanted to have fun again, that's when l play my best footy when lm having fun". Instead of opting to return to his local club Mt.Eliza which had crossed his mind, a few trips down the Princess Highway to Geelong to train with St.Albans soon turned into a two year stay. "By going to play in Geelong it was a chance to broaden my horizons. I think going their (St.Albans) has made me a better player than l was at both Frankston and the Stingrays. Also l knew very little about the League and they knew very little about me so l was able to establish myself". Establish himself he did having two very solid seasons in the midfield despite the team struggling. But constant travelling between the Mornington Peninsula and Geelong finally took its toll on both the mind and more so the body and Davis informed the club at the end of the 2012 season he would not be returning. The temptation to return to Mt.Eliza weighed again on his mind until a conversation between two friends prompted a change in his thought process. Matt Cavedon his coach at St.Albans mentioned the midfielder to Kris Barlow and suddenly one thing led to another proving to be the catalyst for him signing with Vermont and he couldn't be happier with his decision. "Coming here is a challenge and l can challenge myself, this is one of the strongest teams in this League" Davis exclaimed. "The training is professional and the blokes just want to train and that's what drives success and a winning culture. It's a real tight knit bunch (players) you go to some clubs and the older blokes and the younger kids don't mix, there is a real gel around here. "Big Tayles (Simon Taylor) has really taken me under his wing, he is always asking me how l am which makes it a lot easier transitioning into a new club. Davis makes no bones about we're he sees himself fitting into the team structure. "I want to play midfield. "I look forward to playing with Ryan Mullett, though l've never seen him play l have mates at Noble Park and they say he is an absolute freak. "He will certainly be the number one midfielder but if he is having an average day lm happy to step up and take the number one role. "Like l was at St.Albans not many people would have heard of me and that can work to my advantage". Despite his young age there is also an aspiring coach lurking inside. "I actually sat down earlier this year and it was one of the things l thought about. "Having played VFL and Stingrays l think l know a bit about football and could help out the young blokes just starting seniors. "So over the next couple of years l'm really like an assistant coaching role" said Davis.