MAJAK Daw is set to take another important step in his latest AFL comeback attempt when he participates in a practice match with North Melbourne’s reserves this weekend.
There were fears Daw’s season could be over when he tore a pectoral muscle in a gym accident late last month.
But the 29-year-old defender was lucky to avoid surgery and could now be back at senior level within weeks.
Daw is likely to play when the Kangaroos’ reserves take on Hawthorn at Port Melbourne on Sunday before the clubs’ senior sides do battle in their round-four clash at Marvel Stadium.
“We were able to avoid the surgery to start with, which was the first positive, and from there, his recovering ability is second to none,” North Melbourne football manager Brady Rawlings said.
“His strength measures have come along unbelievably over the last two weeks.
“He’s at a level now with his injured side where he’s actually stronger in strength measures than the rest of the list.
“He should be fine functionally to be able to play.”
Strict new AFL protocols have limited full-contact training following Essendon’s COVID-19 issues and thrown a spanner in the works for players like Daw looking to push their selection cases.
“We can’t do any contact at full training from now on so he doesn’t get to test that out in a full training sense tomorrow,” Rawlings said.
“But we’re confident from what we’ve seen from him over the last few days that he’s functionally OK to play.”
Daw has not played at AFL level since suffering serious hip and pelvic injuries in a fall from Melbourne’s Bolte Bridge in December 2018.
He was originally scheduled to return in round one this year but had to pull out of the clash with St Kilda due to a minor cold.
North Melbourne is “reasonably confident” experienced midfielder Ben Cunnington will return against Hawthorn after he was a late withdrawal from last week’s loss to Sydney with a back complaint.
Defender Marley Williams is also in the mix for senior selection and small forward Jack Mahony could make his debut after kicking three goals in a practice match against the Western Bulldogs’ reserves last week.
(C) AAP 2020