Matt Burgan looks back on Aaron Davey’s outstanding career with Melbourne

2003: Originally from Darwin, Davey produces an outstanding season with Port Melbourne in the VFL. He wins the Fothergill-Round Medal as the most promising player in the VFL. Davey is also named in the VFL Team of the Year. He is later touted as a genuine draft prospect, but is surprisingly overlooked in the NAB AFL Draft, despite the interest from several clubs, including the Brisbane Lions and Essendon. Davey is then selected by Melbourne at No. 3 in the Rookie Draft in December.

2004: Quickly catches the eye of the competition in the Wizard Cup (the then name of the pre-season series). He is then promoted from the rookie list for the opening round of the season against Hawthorn at the MCG. He kicks a goal and has 13 disposals on debut. His dazzling skills and speed become a hit with the Melbourne faithful, and his chasing/tackling inside forward 50 is also recognised. His efforts in this area increase the importance of forward pressure. In just his eighth match, he boots a career best five goals against Geelong at Simonds Stadium. Davey suffers a hamstring injury in round 16 against the Western Bulldogs, missing four matches. But he returns to play in Melbourne’s losing elimination final against Essendon. He boots 28 goals in his first season and earns a two year deal. Davey also wins Melbourne’s best first year player award, the AFLPA’s best first year player award, and finishes second in the NAB AFL Rising Star award to then Melbourne teammate and now Geelong defender Jared Rivers.

2005: Plays every match for the season, including Melbourne’s elimination final against Geelong. Davey kicks 30 goals for the year, including two hauls of four. He also leads Melbourne’s tackling with 71, and finishes third in the club’s best and fairest, in just his second season. He represents Australia against Ireland in the International Rules series for the first time. Davey also receives the AFLPA’s Marn Grook Award for best emerging indigenous player.

2006: Davey kicks a career best 37 goals from 22 matches, and plays in Melbourne’s most recent finals series – and win over St Kilda in the second elimination final. He wins the best clubman award and again represents Australia in the International Rules series in Ireland.

2007: Represents the Indigenous All-Stars against Essendon at the start of the year. Kicks 24 goals and features in 18 matches, but has some hamstring niggles and suffers a two match suspension. He comes fifth in Melbourne’s best and fairest, and signs a new three year deal.

2008: Plays 15 matches, including his 100th AFL match, but has a frustrating season with injury.

2009: Produces his best AFL season, winning the Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy. He represents the Indigenous All-Stars against Adelaide early in the year. His fine display is a taste of his season to come. Playing in the midfield and running out of defence, Davey amasses a career-best 504 disposals for the season, including three 31 disposal matches. He plays all 22 matches and leads the club in tackles (90). He wins Melbourne’s heart and soul player award and signs a new four year deal until the end of 2013.

2010: Gains a personal best 10 Brownlow Medal votes, after playing 20 games, but breaks his leg in round 20 and misses the final two rounds. Davey finishes fourth in Melbourne’s best and fairest.

2011: Davey is named joint vice captain to Brad Green, but a knee injury halts his season, after he plays the opening nine matches. He returns in round 20.

2012: Features in just eight matches as injuries and form ruin his season. A stress fracture in his right foot ends his season after round 13.

2013: Davey completes a good pre-season and manages to play 18 matches up until round 22, when he announces his retirement from the club. He turns back the clock with a fine match against Richmond in round eight, booting three goals. Davey produces his best season since 2010.