The inspirational return of Majak Daw to the AFL has punctuated a thumping victory for North Melbourne over ailing Adelaide.
Daw, playing his first match since suffering serious hip and pelvic injuries in a fall from Melbourne's Bolte Bridge in December 2018, sparked huge celebrations on Saturday when he kicked a fourth-quarter goal in North's 19.5 (119) to 7.8 (50) victory at Metricon Stadium.
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Every Kangaroos player on the field swarmed to the 29-year-old to celebrate his goal as he ended a 700-plus day absence from the competition in style.
"There's no better feeling than winning," Daw told Fox Footy.
"Over the past two years, the battles I've gone through, it's worth it, winning with your teammates.
"Nothing beats playing AFL footy."
Daw, playing in placed of axed spearhead Ben Brown, provided a target in North's forward line throughout the match and ended the game with eight disposals, four marks and his goal.
His return provided a much-needed lift for a Kangaroos team which snapped a six-game losing run in devastating fashion, leaving the winless Crows marooned on the bottom of the ladder.
AFL great tears up over Majak Daw return
Former Hawthorn champion Dermott Brereton was effusive in his praise for both Daw and North Melbourne, saying the 29-year-old had ‘reclaimed his life’ when he stepped onto the field again.
Daw’s return was a particularly emotional subject for Brereton, who lost his father and brother to suicide.
“We hear so often ‘he had so much to live for, why would he do it?’ They’re all questions we ask,” Brereton said on Fox Footy.
“This is a bloke who almost did it, tried to do it, went bloody close to taking his own life.
“What made me emotional, he’s got a chance to reclaim that life. Today, whether he plays well, good, bad, poorly. He has reclaimed his life today.
“For everybody that has family that have done it, this is a snapshot into their life of what their loved ones who took their lives could’ve done. They could’ve succeeded again in life with the right support around them.
“That’s why I congratulate North Melbourne and Rhyce for the support around this young man. That man, he could’ve been a memory.
“He could’ve had his plaque in a funeral parlour somewhere. But his flesh living and breathing, he is living proof people can reclaim their lives.”
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