Smiling Majak’s ‘joyful’ return to North
North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell has opened up about the thrill of having Majak Daw back at Arden Street.
Daw took a significant step on his path to recovery on Monday, posing in the Kangaroos' official team photo.
Daw has been back at the club for about two weeks, less than two months after suffering horrific injuries in a fall from the Bolte Bridge.
The athletic tall, who enjoyed the best season of his career as a defender last year, is making a steady recovery from severe hip and pelvic injuries.
Daw "ditched" his crutches a fortnight ago and is now walking without assistance, but sources said still has a long way to go and gets tired quickly.
"I think everyone is just joyful he's back, the smile on his face more importantly but everyone else's face when he walks in, it's awesome and I think you can't make that stuff up, it's cool to see and we're pretty pumped when he's around and back at the footy club he seems to be enjoying his time," Ziebell said after being reinstated as Kangaroos captain for 2019.
His leadership group, made up of Shaun Higgins, Jamie Macmillan and Robbie Tarrant, also remained unchanged.
"We're lucky enough to have Maj back the past couple of weeks, he's been down at training," Ziebell said.
"A footy club is a great place to be around and no doubt Maj is enjoying his time at the moment... and I think he's going to look forward to getting stuck back into training and getting his body right."
The Herald Sun understands Daw was keen to return to the fold for the team photo as a contracted player.
He marched confidently into the auditorium at Arden Street before a packed media scrum and Kangaroos coterie members.
Daw has told friends he hopes to play again this year, but it remains to be seen whether the 195cm, 94kg Sudanese big man can get back to AFL-playing fitness.
"We'll have to wait and see (if he can get back to play this year)," Ziebell said.
"I know he really does want to play but he's got to jump a few hurdles between now and then, I think more importantly it's just good to see him at the footy club, so taking it one step at a time."
The 27-year-old Daw was rescued by emergency services about 11pm on December 17 after plummeting into the Yarra River.
He last month penned a letter to fans on the North Melbourne website.
"The circumstances surrounding my incident have been extremely challenging for my family, friends and anyone that knows me for that matter," Daw wrote.
"I'm making huge strides with my recovery, both physically and mentally. I have been blessed with a second chance at life.
"My attitude and outlook towards everything has improved.I hope to be back out there playing in the blue and white stripes soon.
"Thank you all for respecting my need for privacy and for giving me the chance to get better going forward."