North Melbourne AFL star Majak Daw plays first game in 706 days since plunging from a bridge


Majak Daw has made a triumphant return to AFL almost two years since his horror plunge from Melbourne’s Bolte Bridge. 

The 29-year-old North Melbourne player ran onto the field on Saturday ready to make a comeback against Adelaide Football Club. 

Daw was thrilled to register a win for the Kangaroos after kicking an inspirational goal much to the delight of his teammates. 

In a post match interview he registered his personal problems and thanked the medics that worked hard to save his life.  

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Daw made his debut 706 days since he plunged from Melbourne's Bolte Bridge (pictured with his girlfriend Emily McKay)

Daw made his debut 706 days since he plunged from Melbourne’s Bolte Bridge (pictured with his girlfriend Emily McKay)

Majak Daw reacts as he leads Kangaroos players from the field following the Round 9 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and Adelaide Crows on August 1, 2020

Majak Daw reacts as he leads Kangaroos players from the field following the Round 9 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and Adelaide Crows on August 1, 2020

‘It has been two years since I played. There’s no better feeling than winning,’ he told Fox Footy after the match.

‘The last two years, all the battles I’ve gone through, it’s worth it. Winning with your teammates, my family at home watching. I haven’t been able to do it myself, there’s been so many people involved, the footy club have been amazing.

‘The wider public, even when I was in hospital, the hospital staff there. They looked after me. 

‘I want to make special mention to my little boy at home, Hendrix, I wish he was up here with me. A message to everyone back home in Victoria, they are doing it pretty tough at the moment. To our supporters, I hope this win means something to you.’

Majak Daw of the Kangaroos looks to get the ball during the round nine AFL match

Majak Daw of the Kangaroos looks to get the ball during the round nine AFL match

In December 2018, Daw shattered his hips and pelvis during the horror fall and his chances of returning to the game appeared impossible.  

Daw enjoyed a breakout season in 2018, playing 18 matches as defender, before he was pulled from the Yarra River with devastating injuries, eight days before Christmas.

He had reportedly fought with his partner Emily McKay and taken prescription drugs before he abandoned his car in the stopping lane on the Bolte Bridge and plunged into the shallow river below.

Two 15 centimetre rods were inserted into each of his hips after the fall, with Daw having to learn how to walk again in his recovery process. 

Following his debut game on Saturday, Daw wanted to thank everyone for their support as he pushed himself to recover and inspire his fans. 

North Melbourne won against Adelaide Football Club 119 – 50.

Majak Daw of the Kangaroos takes a mark during the round nine AFL match between North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Adelaide Crows

Majak Daw of the Kangaroos takes a mark during the round nine AFL match between North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Adelaide Crows

Daw had reportedly fought with his partner Emily McKay and taken prescription drugs before he abandoned his car in the stopping lane on the Bolte Bridge and plunged into the shallow river below

Daw had reportedly fought with his partner Emily McKay and taken prescription drugs before he abandoned his car in the stopping lane on the Bolte Bridge and plunged into the shallow river below

North Melbourne players celebrate Daw's incredible goal during his first game in two years

North Melbourne players celebrate Daw’s incredible goal during his first game in two years

Daw, who has become a father to son Hendrix since he last played, said he felt a responsibility to show others who are struggling with mental health – particularly through the lockdown – that there is a way through their despair.

‘I wanted to be able to help give them hope, that they can do things that never thought possible, or going back to living the life they have always enjoyed,’ Daw said ahead of Saturday’s match. 

‘Life is pretty hard, there are a lot of things that get in the way. There are a lot of people struggling, but you have to have the belief its going to turn.

Daw pictured with his son Hendrix who turns one at the end of August

Daw pictured with his son Hendrix who turns one at the end of August

Daw with his girlfriend Emily McKay when she was pregnant with their first child

Daw with his girlfriend Emily McKay when she was pregnant with their first child

‘The incentive is that I can help people, people I don’t know. There have been so many people show have shared their battle with mental health, and for me that is a pretty big responsibility, and I want to do it right.’ 

Daw was on the cusp of selection for Round 1 this year but was forced out by illness, and the competition was then suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

He then ruptured his pectoral muscle in the gym in May, which further delayed his return. 

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Manoj Prajapati

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