Magpies great Davis had nerves about returning to club

·2-min read
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Ex-Collingwood champion Leon Davis admits he was nervous about taking on a job with the Magpies due to some previous "not so great" experiences.

But the former electric forward believes the AFL powerhouse is now a welcoming and inclusive club for Indigenous people.

Davis and former Collingwood teammates Andrew Krakouer and Heritier Lumumba fell out with the Magpies last year, declaring "nothing has changed" following the 2021 Do Better report into allegations of racism.

Having made peace with the club, Davis is now employed in assisting the Magpies in their attempt to build a culturally safe environment, with Krakouer joining him on a part-time basis.

"I've had a lot of great experiences at this club. There were some times that weren't so great," Davis said on Wednesday. 

"Coming back and sort of not knowing what I was walking back into, as much as I could prepare myself, probably wasn't going to be enough until I got here and was back day-to-day.

"To be on this journey, and all be together, side-by-side, and all wanting to do better, it's been fantastic.

"It makes First Nations people's jobs a lot easier to not do all the work and have that support from non-First Nations people at the club."

Collingwood have taken major steps to try and heal the wounds of the past, in April this year formally apologising to the St Kilda champion Nicky Winmar and his teammate Gilbert McAdam for the appalling abuse directed at them at Victoria Park in 1993.

Davis stood alongside former teammate Steele Sidebottom on Wednesday, ahead of the midfielder's 300th game for Collingwood. 

Sidebottom will become just the fourth Magpies player to reach the milestone when he runs out against North Melbourne on Sunday.

The pair developed an instant bond when Sidebottom arrived at the club during the 2008 draft, staying close even after Davis retired at the end of 2011.

Sidebottom said he had witnessed major changes off-field during 15 years at Collingwood, and cherished his friendship with Davis.

"I'd love to be able to sit down with someone that doesn't know about Leon's culture and be able to give them a story on where he came from and the way he grew up," Sidebottom said.