Bush to big city: Former CQ player makes his NRL debut
HOME grown Emerald rugby league product Andrew Davey made his NRL debut at the ripe age of 28 for Parramatta Eels on July 18.
The Eels went down 18-22 to the Manly Sea Eagles.
Many good judges commented Davey was extremely solid in his 30 minutes of game time.
The 28-year-old builder was given his first NRL contract by the Eels in 2019 and earned player-of-the-year honours and a grand final spot for NSW Canterbury Cup side Wentworthville.
Davey has made many sacrifices to make his debut recently, walking away from owning his building business.
He also suffered plenty of economic hardship in recent months on the way to his debut.
Firstly by the pandemic shutdown of the NRL, which halved his reserve grade salary and then the NRL’s strict biosecurity requirements which locked him in his club’s 50-man ‘bubble’.
He couldn’t even supplement his wage with some building work on the side.
Davey’s most loyal friends in Sydney have kept him fed and a roof over his head which he can’t thank them enough for.
He said he had roughly two weeks of living on the edge before he called it quits.
Davey gave particular thanks to his close mate and former Emerald Cowboys president James Verzeletti, who he described as “his biggest fan” after driving 15 hours from Emerald to be at Davey’s Lottoland first grade debut.
Davey was a regular for the Emerald Cowboys, playing seven seasons of senior rugby league in the Central Highlands before playing Queensland Cup for the Mackay Cutters and Townsville Blackhawks.
Verzeletti said in Davey’s seven years of first grade with the Emerald Cowboys, he pin-pointed his last as his best. When he was appointed captain-coach, his game went to another level.
Amazingly, the then 24-year-old bush footballer was left out of the representative sides that year, so who would have thought the Emerald boy would be making his NRL debut at 28.
The big difference between Davey and most other NRL players is, most are recognised at a younger age.
Even though some don’t play until their mid to late 20s, they have been recognised.
Davey was in his mid 20s when he was finally recognised as a semi-professional player.
Davey’s father Lance was an electrician at Crinum Mine and his mother Deanne drove Davey all over the Central Highlands as a junior. They are all now based in Mackay.