While Knights legend Robbie O’Davis will always be remembered for his stunning achievements on the field, it was his personality off it that stands out the most.
O’Davis often carried the badge of being a ‘larrikin’ both on and off the field and as it turns out, that was a deliberate move.
“I just thought if I became the dancing man and started playing up and becoming a bit of a larrikin, I might get paid a little bit more money and become a more popular person,” O’Davis told the Our Town Our Team podcast.
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“I sort of took that imagine into the game, simply because I was a little man.”
The tactic dates back to his days in the Knights’ lower grades, when a chat with then-reserve grade coach Robert Finch and fellow player Tim Maddison made him realise how he should present himself.
“Robert Finch came over and said to me ‘listen mate, if you’re good, you don’t have to tell the world about it…you’re walking around bragging about everything you do’,” O’Davis said.
“All of a sudden this guy called Tim Maddison, an u/21s player and big front rower, he walks up to me and goes ‘I heard what Robert Finch just said, but if you’re good, you go tell the world, but if you don’t back it up on the field, then you look like an idiot’.
“So, I had Robert Finch telling me to stop big noting myself, and this guy I didn’t really know telling me to big note but just back it up.
“I’ve always backed it up, and I’ve always big noted, and just the way I grew up I turned into a Rod Tidwell, ‘show me the money’.”
O’Davis was always a small player in a big man’s game, weighing in at under 80 kilograms throughout his entire career.
It didn’t stop him from becoming one of the Knights greatest players, with O’Davis winning two grand finals and winning countless accolades throughout his 223 appearances in the red and blue.
The now 47-year-old credits this success in part to his adopted off-the-field persona.
“It made me belong in a big game,” he explained.
“I had to make a presence, and why I was making a presence as a loudmouth dancing little idiot, it got me a high profile and made the other players aware of me too.
“They weren’t just saying let’s knock out (mark) Sargent or let’s knockout (Paul) Harrigan, we’ve got this little guy making a buzz out here, let’s go chase him around.”
It’s little wonder that with the release of 1996’s Jerry Maguire, comparisons between O’Davis and Rod Tidwell (played by Cuba Gooding Jr) started to surface.
“It was amazing when that Rod Tidwell show me the money movie came out, I related to it so well because that’s what I’ve been doing with my life,” he said.