Clarence Clive Davis
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Clarrie Davis was once described as ‘without a peer in Australian football as an attacking centre’, a big statement indeed given that the brilliant Trevor Allan, a future Hall of Famer, played in Davis’ era.
Both speedy and elusive, Davis was a ‘brilliant attacking player at outside centre’ however selectors thought him too good to not have in the team. As such Davis found himself regularly picked him out of position on the wing where he was often underutilised and notably less effective. Sadly, Davis’ career was plagued by a succession of leg-related injuries.
In 1947, just one year out of juniors, Davis made his first grade debut for Manly alongside his brother Gordon and was chosen as a reserve for the North against South state trial match. The following year he scored a brace of tries for NSW against Australian Universities and played in his first interstate series however it was not until 1949 that he earned his big break. Davis pulled a thigh muscle against Queensland yet was still named in the 1st Test team to play the Maori. Unfortunately he could not shake the injury, collapsed at training the day before the match and was replaced by Jack Marshall.
After more than a month out, Davis returned and managed to play himself into the New Zealand touring team with a solid display for Metropolitan in the match against Rest of Australia. A similarly strong performance on debut against Wairarapa-Bush earned Davis a maiden Test at Athletic Park before the injury curse struck again when he pulled a muscle in his other leg during the uncapped match against Southland. Late that same year Davis fell seriously ill when he contracted peritonitis following an appendix operation.
A justifiably delayed start to the 1950 season coupled with the disappointment from being overlooked for the series against the British Isles was cast aside when he ‘brilliantly finished off moves with two tries’ for NSW as the state side inflicted the Lions only loss on tour. In 1951 Davis withdrew from the NSW side that played New Zealand due to a burst blood vessel in his thigh. That decision proved fortuitous as the Waratahs were humbled 3-24 and Davis was subsequently recalled to the Test side where he started all three Tests. A year later Davis was unavailable for the tour to New Zealand and then missed selection on the 1953 tour to South Africa. A recurrence of his leg injuries was the primary factor in Davis' decision to retire in mid-1954.
Clarrie Davis played four Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Davis won his first Test cap at wing in partnership with Ralph Garner for the 1st Test, 11-6 victory over New Zealand at Athletic Park. He then pulled a leg muscle in the uncapped match against Southland a week prior to the second Test and was replaced by John Solomon.
Davis and Eddie Stapleton started on the wings in all three home Test losses to New Zealand. Davis actually withdrew from the final test side as he could not travel to Brisbane until Friday evening, due to business commitments. As luck would have it Davis flew in from Sydney on the morning of the match after John Solomon failed to overcome a persistent stomach disorder.