VFLW debut for Daw

Mary Daw with her family and supporters. (Supplied)

Tara Murray

The Suns’ Mary Daw spent much of her childhood watching her brother run round for North Melbourne, now it’s her turn.

The sister of former North Melbourne and Melbourne footballer Majak Daw, Mary made her debut for the Kangaroos’ Victorian Football League women’s side in their round 12 clash.

Mary said her debut game for the Kangaroos was her best experience of her life.

“It’s so exciting,” she said. “It was so nerve-wracking but it was really good.

“I thought I could get a game when I started the program at North and then to put in the hard work, it was better than I thought it would have been.”

“I didn’t realise how much extra work I needed to do to keep up with the girls already playing VFLW.”

Daw joined North Melbourne’s VFLW program at the start of the pre-season.

She approached the club about joining them, having heard a lot about the club from her brother.

“Majak played there and I wanted to go there,” she said. “He still talks about North until this day.

“They invited me to pre-season training and I trained for three months before I got a contract.

“To walk through the same walls and train on the same ground is amazing. I appreciate what he has done for me and we’ve been through similar struggles and successes.”

It was somewhat fitting that Daw was presented her first jumper by Majak, with her saying she didn’t realise how much it meant to him.

She said he has been amongst her biggest supporters and has been providing her advice from day one.

Among others at her jumper presentation was her Suns coach, Leanne Meyer.

After playing one season of under-18s at the Wyndhamvale Falcons, Daw had a couple of seasons off.

She joined Point Cook Centrals and was named best on ground in their premiership, with Meyer coaching the team.

This season they made the move to the Suns, who are fielding a women’s side for the first time.

“Leanne and Ebony [Watkins] the assistant coach are so important to me,” she said.

“They make me feel capable of doing things and the respect I have for them, makes me want to do better for them.”

Daw said she never dreamed of playing VFLW when she first started, she just wanted to play footy for fun.

It’s since led to different opportunities which she didn’t know would look like.

Daw said she wants to be an inspiration to others.

“There’s not enough diverse people in the AFLW and in professional sport,” she said. “I’ll look to be an inspiration and someone they can look up to. You don’t have to play football.

“I’ve put int he hard work and I’ve been given an opportunity regardless of what my background is.”

While Daw would love to play AFLW in the future, she’s more worried about her football short term.

“My focus is pretty small goal,” she said. “I want to play consistently in the VFLW and become a better footballers.

“The AFLW is the dream but I’m focusing on working hard on what I’m doing now.”