Huge crowd expected for Davis's funeral - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Huge crowd expected for Davis's funeral

John Salvado 23/05/2011 04:24:25 PM Comments (0)

Former coach Mark Thompson and star midfielder Gary Ablett, both of whom left AFL club Geelong in controversial circumstances last year, are expected back in town on Tuesday for the funeral of the much-loved Bob Davis.

Davis, who won flags with Geelong as a player in 1951 and 1952 and as coach in 1963 before launching a celebrated media career, died last week aged 82 after a battle with illness.

Known as the Geelong Flyer by his many fans and Woofa by his mates, Davis was a hugely popular figure in Australian football circles.

Thousands of mourners are set to attend his funeral mass at St Mary's Basilica in Geelong, with the service to start at 1pm (AEST).

The crowd will include senior AFL figures, politicians, media personalities, fans and most members of the current Geelong playing list, including captain Cameron Ling.

Former Cats president Frank Costa will address the congregation, along with other friends and family members.

Davis was the popular choice to present the 2009 premiership cup to the Geelong team coached by Thompson, and whose star player was Ablett.

Thompson left the club after 11 seasons in the top job to take up an assistant coaching position with Essendon.

Ablett also departed for a multi-million dollar contract with new club Gold Coast, having previously fallen out with Thompson.

New Cats coach Chris Scott spoke last week of how Davis had remained a close friend to many current-day players and coaches.

"It actually hit the players really hard. Bob spent a lot of time at the club I'm led to believe and got to know the players quite well on a personal level," he said.

There was a minute's silence for Davis before the Friday night game between the Cats and Carlton at Etihad Stadium.

Geelong players wore black armbands and beat Carlton by two points in an outstanding clash.

Davis played 189 games for the Cats from 1948-58 and later coached them for six seasons.

But he was even more famous for a long TV career on programs such as World of Sport and League Teams, where he formed a celebrated combination with Lou Richards and the late Jack Dyer.

Davis's funeral will be led by St Mary's parish priest Father Kevin Dillon and Monsignor James Murray, with a private burial to follow.

The City of Geelong has advised that Yarra St outside the church will be closed to traffic from 8am to 3pm, with shuttle buses running from nearby carparks to help cope with demand.

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