THERE are considerable variations between Phil Davis and Callan Ward.
One’s a key defender, the opposite’s an within midfielder. One loves to speak — Davis even co-hosts a membership podcast — the opposite’s uncomfortable in entrance of the cameras. One’s studied business and regulation, the opposite’s in a development direction.
But additionally they have a number of identical characteristics: They’re revered, inspirational, brave and have an timeless interest for each the game and their membership.
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It’s why their tenure because the GWS Giants’ co-captains has lasted goodbye.
So lengthy, in reality, that it’s the longest co-captaincy stint via the similar two players in AFL history, with the pair recently of their 7th season as Giants skippers. Swan Jarrad McVeigh used to be a co-captain for 6 years, however shared his stints with Adam Goodes for 2 seasons then Kieren Jack for the subsequent 4.
While the dual-skipper phenomenon is relatively new in AFL circles, Ward and Davis have created the easiest partnership and legacy that others can mirror.
“We don’t need to get an outright captain or add anyone to the mix, because they do a great job for us,” Giants defender Matt Buntine instructed foxfooty.com.au.
“There’s no point fixing something that’s not broken. It’s being really effective for us and I can’t see it changing anytime soon.”
Forward Matt de Boer added that you simply “can’t have one without the other”.
Although it wasn’t all smooth-sailing for each males initially in their joint tenure.
THE EARLY YEARS
Davis and Ward had been made co-captains of the Giants in February 2012. Both had been just 21 years outdated, each held their considerations.
They won some the aid of a 3rd co-captain in three-time premiership Lion Luke Power for the 2012 season. Still, they had been passed obligations maximum 21-year-old AFL players aren’t even taking into account at that degree in their careers.
Understandably, Ward used to be to start with fearful, in keeping with former Bulldogs teammate became Giant Sam Reid.
“When we were first moved up, I actually moved up with Cal in that first year. He was really nervous about taking that role,” Reid instructed foxfooty.com.au.
“Phil was a bit different. He relished that leadership role and loved it, whereas Cal’s really grown into it.”
However Davis admitted previous this year that his “skillset was extremely inadequate to captain an AFL side” in 2012.
Buntine, who used to be excited about Pick five within the 2011 draft, used to be on the membership when Davis and Ward had been passed their respective roles “a bit earlier than what they anticipated”.
“Initially, there was a bit of learning for them in terms of sharing the load,” Buntine mentioned.
“Essentially, as soon as they got here, they tended to gravitate a little bit towards each other, being the more experienced players at that time.”
The early years had been difficult, particularly the first 3. The Giants lost 57 in their first 66 AFL games via a mean margin of 66 issues.
Still, Ward and Davis remained staunch and motivated, each on and off the sector. They believed the results would ultimately begin to flip within the membership’s favour.
And the results did flip.
THE INDIVIDUAL GROWTH
As the Giants temporarily became from easybeats to authentic flag contenders, Davis and Ward stepped forward dramatically, each in my opinion and as a duo.
Ward’s Champion Data score issues moderate soared into triple figures all through the center of the last decade, thank you to important lifts in his disposal and clearance counts.
His willingness to position his head over the ball impressed his teammates — and nonetheless does to nowadays, highlighted via his Robert Rose award this year for the maximum brave player within the league.
“He doesn’t get the nickname ‘Cement Head’ for nothing,” Reid laughed.
“He just barrels in and doesn’t think about it. Sometimes it probably seems a bit stupid, but that’s how he plays and we just absolutely love it.”
Defender Nick Haynes mentioned Ward used to be “built for finals footy”.
“He’s our captain for a reason and that’s through his actions. It’s inspiring when we see that kind of stuff and we all jump on his back,” Haynes instructed foxfooty.com.au.
After a few injury-interrupted seasons, Davis additionally stepped up — to the purpose this year the place he used to be at the verge of variety within the 40-man All-Australian squad.
Last weekend against Sydney, Davis confirmed why he used to be unfortunate to omit out, protecting celebrity Swan Lance Franklin goalless whilst additionally contributing offensively in arguably his supreme and maximum vital efficiency of his profession.
“He’s selfless,” Reid mentioned.
“Although he had a clear focus to play on Buddy, he kept everyone around him calm whenever he had the opportunity to talk about set-ups. He’d bring us all in and he was just a calming voice out there and making sure we were all settled and doing the right thing.”
Haynes mentioned Davis used to be now a “complete player”.
“He’s ruthless and he gets a lot more of the ball now,” Haynes mentioned.
“He’s a kind of guys you’re keen on taking part in with as a result of he does his activity each and every week and he is helping out the remainder of the backline, the entire crew as neatly.
“He units the usual for himself for his teammates, he calls for a top usual. When you spot him doing what he does each and every week, it just makes you need to check that.”
WHY IT ALL WORKS
So how can two very other players with other personalities that play in several positions have labored so neatly in combination for goodbye?
All 4 Giants teammates interviewed via foxfooty.com.au this week famous how neatly Davis and Ward supplement each and every different in a lot of techniques.
Haynes: “Phil’s more of a verbal guy and Wardy leads by actions. To have that great balance and to be able to gel off each other, I think it really comes together as a good relationship.”
Reid: “Phil might do a little bit more talking in meetings, but Cal always leads out on the ground, but so does Phil. But they spend a lot of time with each other and bounce ideas off each other.”
Buntine: “Phil’s a bit more of a thinker and has a busy mind, while Wardy’s a bit more relaxed and jovial.”
De Boer: “Phil’s always very mindful of getting the best out of everyone in the group and always touching base, while Cal certainly brings out the best in players that train alongside him.”
Despite their speak off-field approaches, Davis and Ward are just as uncompromising as each and every different at the subject.
“When the ball gets bounced, both are tough as nails and true competitors and inspire the rest of us out there. We’re in great hands being led by those two boys,” Buntine mentioned.
De Boer mentioned what Davis and Ward do at the coaching observe is just as inspiring as what they do on game day.
“They lead by example, first and foremost, with the way they train and prepare, which the boys see Monday to Friday,” de Boer mentioned.
“Then on game day they’re two of essentially the most brave players I’ve performed with, with their skill to pull different players together with them.
“There’s a actually nice combo we’ve were given there.”
Now, Ward and Davis are 28 and proper of their soccer candy spot.
Individually, they’re in as just right a form as they’ve ever been. But most significantly, of their 7th season as co-captains, they’ve by no means been extra vital to the Giants as leaders.
And it kind of feels they’re no longer going any place anytime quickly.
“Seeing that partnership between them and how much they complement each other throughout the club and certainly as a players, I see how both of them are so valuable to our football club,” Buntine mentioned.