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Leon Davis in the Triple M box at the MCG and people marching for the Yes vote on the Voice to Parliament referendum. Davis explained why he wants to see the Yes vote win. Digitally altered image.
Leon Davis in the Triple M box at the MCG and people marching for the Yes vote on the Voice to Parliament referendum. Davis explained why he wants to see the Yes vote win. Digitally altered image.

Leon Davis Explains Why He Wants To See The Yes Vote Win The Voice Referendum

Collingwood great Leon Davis joined the Friday Huddle ahead of the Pies’ prelim win over GWS and explained why he he’d like to see the Yes vote win the Voice to Parliament referendum.

LEON DAVIS ON THE VOTING YES FOR THE VOICE:

“I listen to someone like Briggs, and he says we’ve lived in the ‘No’ for so long, and we live in the ‘No’ situation for most of our lives,” Leon said.

“So to get an opportunity to have a say in what’s important to us, and how we feel about stuff, I think is a step in the right direction, I think it’s a step a forward.

“I think we’ve still got a long way to go, obviously I’m big on Treaty and making sure we get even more of a say on what we need as a race and as a people, being the traditional owners of this country, to have more of an impact on what happens with us.

“We still face a lot of impacts of colonisation, we still face so many injustices that we still battle with each day.

“Every step in the right direction that we can have to further input on what happens with us as a people, I think is a step in the right direction.”

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Leon also discussed how difficult he found the initial move to Melbourne to play for Collingwood, and much he struggled to balance his responsibilities to his family and culture and being an AFL footballer.

“Moving away from family, moving away from my country, my connection I’ve got to my country… I found it very, very hard,” he said.

“At the time when I did get drafted, to go through that process at the time was very very hard to get that balance of being an athlete at the top level of AFL, and obviously having my cultural responsibilities as well.

“The club at the time probably wasn’t aware of that, and probably wasn’t in a place like it is now to understand that.”

Leon is now been in a full-time role at Collingwood, asissting the club in their attempt to build a culturally safe environment.

He had previously cut ties with the club after taking issue with how the club had handled a report into allegations of racism, but was persuaded to come back in order to help drive cultural change.

He says that his work at Collingwood now allows him to help other young Indigenous players to learn how to achieve the balance between cultural and footy responsibilities that he struggled with.

“[I] get to go back to the club now and work, to put things back now for Bobby Hill, Nathan Kreuger, Ash Johnson, these kind of guys, to really play their best footy and have that balance of having our cultural responsibilities and having the responsibilities of being a professional footballer as well,” he said.

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“If you can balance that out at any club, I think it’s gonna go a long way for the guys to play their best footy, and not only that, to become culturally stronger and be a better version of themselves.

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Leon Davis is a proud Whadjuk / Balardong / Yuat / Nadji Nadji / Yamatji / Wilman man, and was drafted by Collingwood with pick 34 in 1999.

On Friday night, he discussed how difficult he found the initial move to Melbourne to play for the Pies, and much he struggled to balance his responsibilities to both his family and culture, and to being an AFL footballer.

“I got drafted at 18… and to come over to Melbourne and fulfil my dream of playing AFL footy, it took me away from a lot of my cultural responsibilities,” he said.

“Off-season was six weeks off, and I’d get home and there were plenty of times each season where we’d finish our last game and we’d be in the carpark out the front and the car would be packed up and we’d drive back to Perth.

“No exit meetings, no nothing, it was just straight after the game, family in the car and we’d head back to Perth straight away.

“That’s how much I wanted to get home.”

“Every time we played back home in Perth I’d train over here for our last session and I’d be on the plane straight away to get home.

“That kind of stuff, it’s really really hard to juggle.

“Fortunately enough for myself, it was having the upbringing that I did, with my parents and being as culturally strong as they are, my brothers and sisters, to put me on that path to know what I needed.”

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Leon explained that the pull of his culture and his responsibilities to it brought him straight back to Perth after he finished up at the Pies.

“Once I retired, I went straight back to Perth,” he said. 

“A lot of talk, a lot of conversations were had with why I left… a lot of it was to do with to get back to Perth, and be with my dad and get out and sort of live my cultural responsibilities and pick that up.

“Once I retired, I was able to do that.”

Leon also discussed the Pies ahead of that night’s prelim, his favourite players getting around, Triple M’s calls of his best work and more.

Catch the full chat with Leon Davis here:

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