Barry Davis with North Melbourne's first premiership cup, won in 1975

North Melbourne is mourning the passing of the club’s inaugural VFL/AFL premiership captain Barry Davis, who died on Wednesday aged 80.

Shinboner No.654, Davis played with North Melbourne from 1973-75, and won the club’s Best and Fairest in his first season at the club. 

He was also Best and Fairest in 1975, the year of the club’s first flag and Davis’ last season as a player. 

Although he appeared in just 71 games for the Roos, such was his influence, he was named on the interchange in the club’s Team of the Century, selected in 1996.

Davis famously came to Arden St with Doug Wade and John Rantall via the short-lived 10-year free agency rule in 1973.

Along with super coach Ron Barassi, Davis is credited with raising the professionalism of a young and talented Kangaroos side.

The team rose from wooden spooners in the year preceding Davis’ arrival, to grand finalists two years later, and then premiers in 1975.

Davis celebrating the premiership at Melbourne Town Hall in 1975

A consistent performer across his entire career, Davis was a noted big game player. 

He averaged over 27 possessions per game across the Roos’ four finals in 1975 and won more kicks (22) than any player on the ground in the 1975 Grand Final triumph.

The Grand Final was his final VFL/AFL game.

Davis (r) with Ron Barassi

Prior to coming to North Melbourne, Davis played 218 games for Essendon. 

North Melbourne president Dr Sonja Hood paid tribute to Davis, who was revered equally across his two clubs. 

"Barry was a universally respected figure across the AFL and is one of the few people to be named in two clubs’ teams of the century," Dr Hood said. 

"So many people connected to that first great era of our club credit Barry – alongside coach Ron Barassi – with lifting the expectation of our players and supporters after a long run without the ultimate success.

"The wonderful pictures of Barry kissing our first VFL/AFL Premiership Cup are among the most iconic in our 155-year history and he’ll be forever remembered as a North Melbourne champion."


North Melbourne players will wear a black armband in honour of Davis and 1962 Best and Fairest Bill Serong in Saturday’s match against Port Adelaide in Hobart.