Charger: a key member of four Square premiership sides


PETER ‘Charger’ Davey was a key figure in defence during Golden Square’s dominant Bendigo Football League period in the Seventies.

His four premiership successes attest to that, and additionally he was also a vital component of Bendigo’s inter-league campaigns.

He first wore the blue and gold jumper of the Square when he played for the Bulldog under-15s and went on to wear it with pride for more than 20 seasons.

Charger did not retire until the end of the 1986 season.

After playing right through the junior ranks, Davey made his senior debut in 1968 against Echuca.

That was the start of a career which led Charger to become universally recognized as one of the BFL’s premier dashing defenders.

Davey was an important player for the Square in the club’s golden era with his speed out of the backline helping to set up innumerable scoring opportunities.

At every opportunity he would tuck the ball under his arm and go for a dash upfield. Then Charger would unleash one of his trademark, booming left footers and a Square score would almost inevitably follow.


AFTER a couple of seasons at Wade Street, Charger journeyed out to Tooborac in the Heathcote League and coached them to a preliminary final.

He then returned to Golden Square for the 1971 season. The Dogs were runners-up that year to a powerful Eaglehawk combination, but in 1972 Davey enjoyed the first of his four BFL grand final successes.

Under coach Bill Bonney a youthful Square side surprised everyone with their victory over South Bendigo to set the decade up for the Wade Street club.

Square triumphed 14.12 to the Bloods 11.9.

Davey had tried his luck with Carlton earlier that season and played six games in the Blues’ reserves before heading home to the BFL.

Apart from a stint as playing coach with Loddon Valley F.L. clubs Serpentine in 1973 and Calivil in 1974, Charger played out the rest of his career in defence for Golden Square.

His return in 1975 saw Charger savour the sweet taste of premiership glory for the second time. That season marked the start of five, consecutive grand final appearances for Peter Davey and his Bulldog team for three flags and two runners-up finishes —both times to Sandhurst.


A GREAT clubman Charger was called upon to coach the seniors in trying circumstances in 1981.

The incumbent coach Daryl Salmon had resigned unexpectedly.

Despite all the challenges presented to Davey and his players, the side missed out on the finals that turbulent season by less than a percentage point.

He remained as a player until his retirement five seasons later.

Contemporaries of Charger liken his dashing style of play to North Melbourne key defender David Dench. At every opportunity, both players liked to carry the ball with team-lifting runs out of the backline.

Additionally, Charger was rarely beaten in a one-on-one marking contest and his left-footers consistently covered prodigious distances.

His class and style of play saw him represent Bendigo 17 times. In these inter-league campaigns, Charger and Robert ‘Ninga’ O’Connell made up one of the classiest and most challenging key defence combinations for other leagues to crack.

In a BFL era of great and commanding full-forwards, Charger Davey proved one of their biggest headaches.

It was also an era when few spearheads were inclined to chase, so Davey was extremely damaging.


THINKING back about how seldom key defenders figure in end-of-season vote tallies, I pondered over some of the best local backmen I’ve seen.

And by that I mean men who have played on the very last line of defence.

Shane Rodda of the Square, Keith Cleeve of Sandhurst and Gisborne’s Eddie Barake sprung to mind.

Add Deon Marks of South Bendigo to that list, along with Ron Cawthan of Castlemaine and the Dragons’ Chris Greene, and there’s a group of some very, very good BFL players.

I’m a Geelong supporter and now that he’s retired I said to a family member the other day: Matthew Scarlet rarely featured high up in our vote counts.

A Team of the Century full-back he might be, but Scarlett hardly ever finished in the Cats’ Top Ten at club vote count night.

What do you consider Scarlo will be best remembered for? Yep, that’s right. The little, mid-MCG toe poke in the dying seconds of the 2009 grand final.

Not for shutting down the Lions’ Alastair Lynch or Big, Bad Bustling Barry of the Swans, or restricting Matthew Lloyd to two or three goals. Not even for constantly spotting up Mackie, Enright or Josh Hunt with onto-the-chest footpasses.

No, he’ll for ever be remembered for slippering the ball off the deck into the hands of Gazza Ablett junior. Ablett’s long kick into the forward line was knocked down.

Travis Varcoe gathered and fired out a pinpoint handball to Paul Chapman. Chappy steadied and then slotted the grand final sealer over his shoulder.

Who started the move? Why, Scarlo, of course. He’d zoned off his St Kilda opponent and come racing down the ground.


Peter Davey was inducted into the Bendigo Football and Netball League Hall of Fame in October, 2010.

With thanks to the Hall of Fame selection committee and its executive officer, Darren Lewis.






Leave a Comment