Deadly Vibe Issue 98 April 2005
Three fellas from the Territory are on the trail of premiership glory.
Aaron Davey couldn’t have dreamed of a more spectacular beginning to an AFL career. Last season, the then-23-year-old debutant exploded out of the Demons’ rookie list to become one of the AFL’s most promising young stars.
In his very first game Aaron earned himself an AFL Rising Star Nomination and from there he simply didn’t look back.
“I never really expecte d t o make such and impact so early on,” says Aaron, who spoke to Deadly Vibe on the eve of Demons’ first round clash against the Bombers.
“I mean, I was nervous before every game, and I was just hoping that I would be able to get a few kicks in.”
Aaron did a lot more than that. He was a revelation for the Demons, playing in 19 games and kicking 28 goals.
Originally from Darwin, Aaron was named as the VFL’s most promising player in 2003, which paved his way into the AFL. Somehow he was overlooked in the draft before Melbourne snatched him up.
“I think having another Darwin boy in Matt Whelan at the club had a lot to dot with how well I started last season,” Aaron says. “He really made sure that I was comfortable an d t hat helped a lot.”
Aaron finishe d t he season scooping the award for the Best First Year Player for 2004 at the AFL Players Association MVP Awards, and now all eyes are on him to back up a dream debut.
“There are a lot more expectations on me this year from fans,” he says.”But that’s not really something I think about. I’m confident in myself and I just nee d t o worry about my own game rather then what other people are thinking or saying about me.”
Hoping to make a similar first year impact at Melbourne in 2005 is Aaron’s cousin, Shannon Motlop.
Shannon has arrived at the Demons to fill the vacant position in the Melbourne roster left by the late Troy Broadbridge, who tragically died in the Indonesian tsunami diaster. And it was Aaron and Matt who dropped Shannon ‘s name to the Demons as they scouted for a new player.
At 26, Shannon has been hande d t he footballing opportunity of a lifetime, moving over to the Demons from SANFL side North Adelaide.
“This is like a second opportunity for me in the AFL, so I’m really excited about it,” he says.
Shannon was a part of the Kangaroos’ premiership-wining team in 1999 before being delisted by the club in 2003. His younger brother is Daniel Motlop, the Kangaroos’ young star who really made a name for himself in 2004.
“I am a much more mature player now, much more confident,” says Shannon . “I’m enjoying my footy a lot more now than when I was at the Kangaroos.”
Making his comeback even sweeter is the fact that he will be joining two fellow Territorians and old friends, Aaron Davey and Matt Whelan.
“We all go way back to playing with and against each other in the Northern Territory, says Shannon “It’s going to be great to playing alongside them because we all have similar types of games.”
Shannon ‘s late signing means he may not see some game time until the middle of the season, but when his opportunity does come around, one thing’s for sure ” Shannon will be making the most of it.
“There is a bit of pressure on me now, but I’m just going to go out there an d t ry my best,” he says. “I’m aiming to secure a spot in the senior team by the end of the year, but I’ve still got a long way to go.”
“I think Shannon will go really well this season,” says friend an d t eam-mate Matt Whelan, one of the Demons’ most consistent and hard-working players.
“Obviously it will take him time to get accustome d t o the club’s style of play and game plan, but once he does I think he should be coming into the side around mid-season and really making an impact.”
Now coming into his fifth season with the Demons, Matt finished sixth in the Best and Fairest votes last season and is aiming to finish in the top five in 2005.
“It’s going be great to have another NT boy and another Aboriginal fella playing in the side,” he says. ” Shannon is going to bring plenty to the club; he’s got some great skills and is really unpredictable.”
Last season the Demons were brimming with confidence as they entere d t he finals, only to have their premiership dreams cut short by the Bo mbers. Now in 2005, they will be fighting to overcome their own demons from last season and make amends for a lost opportunity.
“I think it’s just like the boys have been saying ” we’ve got lot of unfinished business to take care of after being beaten by Essendon in the first round of the finals,” says Aaron.
With a core group of experienced players and some developing young talent, not to mention the exciting Aboriginal trio from Darwin, the next stop for the Demons may well be premiership glory.
(story 1/4/2005 end)