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Arise, Sir Paul Davis

Macksville captain-coach, Paul Davis, in the thick of the action during the grand final against Orara Valley on Sunday.
Macksville captain-coach, Paul Davis, in the thick of the action during the grand final against Orara Valley on Sunday.



How is it a player once considered washed up can stand on a podium to accept his third coaching premiership trophy?

Legend has it, Maurie Lonergan spotted Paul Davis being neglected as a reserve for reserve grade at the Port Sharks and asked if he fancied a run with Macksville.

At the time, Maurie was building the juggernaut that's now played five straight deciders and won four of them.

He'd coached Pauly temporarily in 1989.

Had him for two Under 18 trials, watched him get picked for North Coast, then lost him.

But Paul told him, one day he'd like to come back and so it was, no second invitation was required when Maurie tapped him on the shoulder at Port.

Davis cracked it for a title under Chris McDonald.

Then in something of a surprise, Paul was named coach when Macca headed up to Casino.

At the time, the appointment was seen by many as a temporary measure until a topliner could be engaged.

Paul shot that theory to pieces by leading the Eagles to the greatest grand final win of all in 2003 at Coramba.

To prove it no fluke, Macksville smashed the Sharks in last year's miracle victory before bringing up the treble last weekend.

As for the big bloke once considered a has-been, he battled injury to keep coming back for more.

Often, he showed glimpses of the ability that had him described while a young man, the most naturally gifted product of Group 2 football.

His athleticism coupled with a his bear-like frame made him a cult figure.

And his gentle nature, while still not afraid to be the hard man when he had to be, turned him into an inspirational, much-loved and popular character at a time when all the great names of the last decade were winding up their careers.

Paul Davis is a massive contradiction.

I've seen him give opponents some massive whacks to keep them in line (for that is still a prop forward's trade) before bending down to lift a fallen enemy to his feet.

I've been witness to him blistering paint from the walls after his troops turned in a mediocre effort, before watching him go about them, one by one, offering kind and considerate words.

The highlight of my year came the night Coffs upset Macksville.

Admitted late to the dressing shed while Paul tore strips of his boys for their lacklustre effort, I was a little apprehensive of what mood he might be in.

We were last in the room and rather than being tied up in aggro, the big fellow was full of charm and warmth.

A thunderstorm trapped us for half an hour and for all that time, I had him to myself.

For a Group 2 groupie like me that was akin to an audience with the Pope.

Talk of football took just a few minutes.

We then talked about generalities.

Family, interests, people we knew in common, as well as nothing much in particular.

Everything they say about him is true.

A gentleman who is a gentle man.

Warm, friendly, kind, and not afraid to wind you up with some mischievous joke.

Few people could have done what he's done, bringing so many different personalities together into a winning unit.

This is another case of brilliant, sometimes wayward individuals being moulded into a champion team for which Davis can take most of the credit.

On the day the big man triumphed at Macksville, across the seas, a pommy cricket captain lead his country to an Ashes victory, sparking calls for HM QE2 to endow him with a knighthood.

Our homegrown hero deserves an honour just as much, so.....

Arise, Sir Paul.