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Footy star Majak Daw’s fight to keep Melboune AFL dream alive

AFL star Majak Daw contemplates life after football with his big league career ‘at the crossroads’ four years after his remarkable comeback from a suicide attempt.

Daw’s future was the subject of a court hearing on Tuesday after the 31-year-old was caught in the early hours of November 19 in Melbourne’s trendy Chapel Street while driving without a license in his unregistered Ford Territory.

In December 2018, Daw attempted to kill himself by jumping off the Bolte Bridge in Melbourne.

Majak Daw was driving an unregistered car with a suspended license when he was stopped by police in Melbourne's Chapel Street on Nov. 19.

Majak Daw was driving an unregistered car with a suspended license when he was stopped by police in Melbourne’s Chapel Street on Nov. 19.

Majak Daw signed for the Melbourne Demons in 2021 - but has yet to make a senior appearance for Simon Goodwin's team

Majak Daw signed for the Melbourne Demons in 2021 – but has yet to make a senior appearance for Simon Goodwin’s team

Footy star Majak Daw co-parents his son Hendrix with ex-girlfriend Emily McKay (pictured)

Footy star Majak Daw co-parents his son Hendrix with ex-girlfriend Emily McKay (pictured)

Incredibly, Daw survived the impact with the water 25 meters below, but his injuries were serious.

But after more than 700 days from the bridge’s dive, Daw returned to the AFL on August 1, 2020 with the Kangaroos, who removed him from the list at the end of that year.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard that Daw, who joined the Melbourne Demons last year, believed his time as an AFL footballer was almost up.

The court heard that Daw had a $100,000 salary package, with incentives, with the demons.

Daw’s attorney, John Marquis, told the court that his client was separated from the mother of his three-year-old son Hendrix and was struggling to sustain his AFL career.

“He’s at the crossroads with his football – he’s 31 at the moment so there won’t be too many years left, so whether or not to renew the contract will be crucial,” said Mr Marquis. †

Daw shouldn’t have gone out after losing his driver’s license due to loss of points.

The court heard that Daw had not informed VicRoads that he had moved in with his cousin eight months ago and therefore missed the notices.

Daw went to court and wanted to plead not guilty to the charges until he received a sentencing from bailiff Alison Paton.

Mr Marquis said Daw was desperate to keep his license so he could continue training and have access to his child.

“He’s more than happy with a heavier fine,” he said.

In a lengthy plea, Mr Marquis complained that Daw had been the subject of intense media scrutiny since he donned an AFL jersey for the Kangaroos in 2009 as the league’s first Sudanese-born senior player.

The footballer (pictured with ex-girlfriend) has spoken publicly about the mental health battle he has faced all his life

The footballer (pictured with ex-girlfriend) has spoken publicly about the mental health battle he has faced all his life

Ms Paton was given a bundle of references, including glowing reports from book author Heath O’Loughlin, Melbourne General Manager Alan Richardson, former Kangaroo Cameron McLeod, and its first-ever footy coach.

“As you can see, they’re pretty impressive credentials,” said Mr. Marquis.

“This matter has been reported in the press, so if you’re a public figure there’s a lot of that double penalty. There is the shame of the reporting and he is also a role model for the community.’

Mr Marquis said Daw felt he had let people down by making the case public.

The court was told about Daw’s harsh upbringing, which saw him and his eight siblings flee Sudan to live in Australia in 2003.

While Daw was making a name for himself on the football pitch in Melbourne’s western suburbs, he was never far from the headlines on far more serious subjects.

Mr Marquis said Daw’s mental health issues date back to 2014, which led to him seeing a physiologist.

Majak Daw was a rookie draft pick for North Melbourne in 2010 - which was international news given his Sudanese background

Majak Daw was a rookie draft pick for North Melbourne in 2010 – which was international news given his Sudanese background

“It is fairly well known that a suicide attempt took place at the end of 2018. To his credit, he recovered from that and played fantastic again,” he said.

Mr Marquis described Daw as a “true role model” for the community.

“And others have followed a path he has charted,” he said.

Ms. Paton accepted that Daw had endured “significant challenges” in his life and had done well to change his life after his highly publicized mental health battles.

“I certainly accept that there is a degree of consequence you receive from your profile that others appearing in this court today clearly will not have,” she said.

Upon hearing her sentence, Daw agreed to plead guilty to both charges and was fined $1,200 without conviction.

In a further win, Mrs. Paton refused to interfere with Daw’s license.

LIFELINE 13 11 14

Majak Daw: A Remarkable Life

Date of birth: 11/3/91

Born: South Sudan, then moved to Egypt (2000) and Australia (2003)

School: Mackillop College, Werribee, Victoria

Junior Club: Western Jets

Drafted: 2010 by North Melbourne Kangaroos (choose nine), the first Sudanese-born player officially drafted by a professional AFL club

Senior Debut: Round 4, 2013 v Brisbane Lions

Career stats: 54 senior matches, 43 goals

Current club: Melbourne Demons

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