Majak Daw has retired immediately, ending an AFL career that spanned two clubs and 12 years, and provided footy with some of its most inspirational moments.
The 31-year-old Melbourne ruckman announced his retirement on Monday, citing injury troubles as the motivation for his decision.
Daw suffered a pectoral muscle injury at training two weeks ago, robbing him of the chance to make his Demons debut after captain Max Gawn suffered an ankle syndesmosis injury against Collingwood.
Daw became the first Sudanese-Australian player to be drafted to the AFL when North Melbourne selected him in the 2009 NAB AFL Rookie Draft. He made his debut for the Kangaroos in 2013, playing 54 games and kicking 43 goals.
Daw's career was in doubt after he suffered severe injuries in a fall from the Bolte Bridge in December 2018, but he recovered to return to senior AFL action in August 2020.
After being delisted at the end of 2020, Daw was picked up by Melbourne in early 2021 in the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period and was a valuable member of the Casey Demons' powerful VFL side.
Daw said he would retire with "immense pride" at his football achievements.
"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."
General manager of football performance Alan Richardson thanked Daw for his contribution to the Demons over the past couple of years.
"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."