Majak Daw's inspirational football journey has come to an end with the first Sudanese-born AFL player calling it quits.
The 31-year-old has ended his 12-year career, effective immediately, after fresh injury troubles halted a potential fairytale return with Melbourne.
Daw played 54 games for North Melbourne before being picked up by the Demons ahead of the 2021 season.
The utility did not add to his career games tally at Melbourne but has lost no fans for the mental resilience he has shown to remain in the AFL system.
Daw survived a fall off the Bolte Bridge in 2018, recovering from serious hip and pelvic injuries to play AFL again for the Kangaroos in 2020.
An injury to Melbourne captain Max Gawn two weeks ago opened a potential vacancy for Daw as a ruckman for the Demons.
However, Daw suffered an injury setback of his own and was unable to further press his claims in the VFL with the Casey Demons.
"I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that North Melbourne and Melbourne have provided me over the last 12 years," Daw said in a statement released by the Demons.
"I walk away from the game with immense pride in what I've been able to achieve and the challenges I've been able to overcome.
"With my current injury troubles, I've taken the opportunity to reflect on where I'm at and where I'm heading and in speaking with my management and the club, we've all agreed that the timing is right for me to retire from the game.
"By stepping away at this stage of the season I can focus on the next stage of my life and spend much more time on my most important and favourite job, being a loving and caring father to my son Hendrix.
"I would like to thank my family, friends, teammates, coaches and the wider football community for their support and care during my time in the industry. I walk away from the game with life-long memories, friendships and real pride in what I've achieved."
Melbourne football performance manager Alan Richardson praised Daw's contribution to the Demons.
"Majak should leave the game incredibly proud of what he's been able to achieve across his AFL career," said Richardson.
"Maj's career has had its highs and lows, but to represent his family and the Sudanese community in the manner in which he has, over the course of an 11-year period, is something he should be really proud of.
"Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to have an on-field impact at AFL level with Melbourne, but to have returned himself to a position to be able to compete and train at the highest level is testament to Majak's determination.
"Given his current injury struggles and opportunities that are currently presenting outside of footy, Majak, his management and the club are aligned in the belief that it is the right time for Maj to retire."
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Australian Associated Press
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