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Nick Davis' feats run around again

AAP logoAAP 21/09/2016 Steve Larkin

Nick Davis' feats, and feet, are getting another run around.

Davis thanks his father. And soccer.

The Sydney Swans eternally thank him.

And Geelong, no matter how much they try, can't forget him.

Especially this week, the lead-up to the AFL preliminary final between the clubs.

The last time they met in a final was the Nick Davis match.

It was 2005. SCG. Semi-final. Winner advances. Loser eliminated.

After a sunny Sydney day, the night match was a sodden affair - sprinklers had been left on. By design or error, it's still a mystery.

If the sprinklers were a Sydney ploy to dull Geelong's brilliance, it backfired.

At three quarter-time, the Cats led a low-scoring affair by 17 points, and the Swans had kicked just three goals.

Geelong booted the opening goal of the final stanza. With 17 minutes remaining, they led by 23 points.

Surely, that was the end of Sydney's quest to end a 72-year premiership drought. Surely.

Enter Davis.

Barely sighted all night, the Swans goalsneak produced what his coach Paul Roos describes as the best quarter of finals football by anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Roos is biased. But he's renowned as a hard marker.

"If Roosy gives you a compliment you take it because it's hard work getting one from him," Davis has said.

With a tick more than 13 minutes remaining, Davis crumbed a pack brilliantly and threaded a snap from near the boundary line. Goal.

Six minutes later, he converted a set shot. Goal.

Just over three minutes to go, Davis nailed another perfect snap from 40 metres out. Goal.

Swans three points down. With just 30 seconds remaining, stoppage about 20 metres from Sydney's goal.

Davis sprints into space, roves the tap but never fully controls the ball before guiding it onto his left boot.

Goal. His fourth in 13 minutes.

Sydney win by three points. Then go on to win the premiership.

Davis this week is proving as elusive to media as he was to Geelong players that night, so far dodging interview requests.

But he has spoken before about his "special night".

Davis has expressed thanks to his father Craig for teaching him to use his left foot as much as his natural right.

And he also thanks soccer.

"I played soccer from the age of six for about seven years ... that probably strengthened my left side, and added to my muscle memory and foot-eye coordination," he told the AFL website last year.

So special were Davis' feats, and feet, the four-goal burst has been placed on the Swans' heritage list. It's up there with the SCG, the club jumper and Bob Pratt's 150-goal season.

And he'll be there to remind Geelong again in Friday night's MCG preliminary final.

Davis is now Sydney's development coach. And, rightfully, their goalkicking coach.

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