North Melbourne’s Majak Daw will become the AFL’s first Sudanese-born player when he makes his debut against Brisbane Lions.
Kangaroos coach Brad Scott confirmed today that Daw, who was elevated off their rookie list for this season and showed eye-catching form in preseason, had been included to face the Lions on Sunday.
“I’m pretty excited. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time,” Daw said. “The thought of being the first Sudanese AFL player is really exciting.
“When he [Brad Scott] told me out there earlier today, I was just over the moon.
“I’ve come a long way since I first came to the club and every year’s been a learning curve for me.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I know what it takes now to represent this team.”
Daw, 22, is a 195cm forward-ruckman whose extraordinary athleticism has seen him build an impressive collection of highlights at VFL level.
The Kangaroos’ announcement was a surprise after Scott had indicated that Daw was close, but had not quite done enough to break in to the side.
But it is believed another of the club’s forwards pulled up sore during training, opening the way for Daw.
“If something happens to a key position player he’s probably the next one in, so he’s very close,” Scott said before training on Thursday.
While Daw’s exotic background has already earned him fame well beyond that afforded to most players yet to debut, Scott said the hype did not faze him.
“Maj has got really good at dealing with all that, the hype is largely external,” Scott said.
“He knows exactly where he sits internally.
“The players are absolutely behind Maj. They know he can help them win games, he gives us tremendous flexibility.”
Photo: Majak Daw with his family