AFL star Majak Daw is contemplating 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 busted on Melbourne’s trendy Chapel Street driving his unregistered Ford Territory while unlicensed in the early hours of November 19.
In December of 2018 Daw tried to take his life by jumping off Melbourne’s Bolte Bridge.
Majak Daw was driving an unregistered car with a suspended license when he was pulled over by police on November 19 on Melbourne’s Chapel Street
Majak Daw signed for the Melbourne Demons in 2021 – but is yet to make a senior appearance for Simon Goodwin’s team
Footy star Majak Daw co-parents his son Hendrix with former girlfriend Emily McKay (pictured)
Incredibly, Daw survived the impact with the water 25m below, but his injuries were severe.
But after more than 700 days after the bridge plunge, Daw made his AFL return on August 1, 2020 with the Kangaroos, who delisted him at the end of that year.
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard Daw, who joined the Melbourne Demons last year, believed his time as an AFL footballer was running out.
The court heard Daw remained on a $100,000 salary package, with incentives, with the Demons.
Daw’s barrister, John Marquis, told the court his client had split from the mother of his three year-old boy Hendrix and was struggling to hang onto his AFL career.
‘He’s at the crossroads with his football – he’s 31 at the moment so there aren’t going to be too many years left so it’s going to be critical as to whether or not there can be a renewal of the contract,’ Mr Marquis said.
Daw ought not have been on the road after losing his licence due to a loss of demerit points.
The court heard Daw had failed to inform VicRoads that he had moved in with his cousin eight months ago and therefore had missed the notices.
Daw attended court unwilling to plead guilty to the charges until he had been provided a sentence indication from judicial registrar Alison Paton.
Mr Marquis said Daw was desperate to retain his licence so that he could continue training and have access to his child.
‘He’s be 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 pulling on an AFL jumper 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 battles he has fought throughout his life
Ms Paton was handed a bundle of references, including glowing reports from the author of his book Heath O’Loughlin, general manager of Melbourne Alan Richardson, former Kangaroo Cameron McLeod, and his first ever footy coach.
‘As you can see they’re quite impressive references,’ Mr Marquis said.
‘This matter has been reported in the press so whenever you’re a public figure there’s that double punishment to a large extent. There’s the embarrassment of the reporting in addition he’s a role model to the community.’
Mr Marquis said Daw felt he had let people down by the matter becoming public.
The court was told about Daw’s tough upbringing, which saw he and his eight siblings flee Sudan to live in Australia in 2003.
While Daw made a name of himself on the football field in Melbourne’s western suburbs, he has never been far from the headlines over far more serious subjects.
Mr Marquis said Daw’s mental health issues had dated back to 2014 which led to him seeing a physcologist.
Majak Daw was a rookie draft pick for North Melbourne in 2010 – which was international news given his Sudanese background
‘It’s fairly well known there was the suicide attempt at the end of 2018. To his credit he recovered from that and amazingly played again,’ he said.
Mr Marquis described Daw as a ‘real role model’ to the community.
‘And others have followed a path that he has trail blazed,’ he said.
Ms Paton accepted Daw had endured ‘significant challenges’ in his life and had done well to turn his life around after his well publicised mental health battles.
‘I certainly accept that there is a level of consequence that you receive due to your profile that others who appear in this court today obviously will not have,’ she said.
Upon hearing her sentence indication, Daw agreed to plead guilty to both charges and was fined $1200 without conviction.
In a further win, Ms Paton declined to interfere with Daw’s licence.
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Majak Daw: A remarkable life
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 (pick nine), first Sudanese born player officially drafted by a professional AFL club
Senior debut: Round 4, 2013 v Brisbane Lions
Career stats: 54 senior games, 43 goals
Current club: Melbourne Demons