Majak taking small steps

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 23 Februari 2013 | 14.43

North Melbourne ruckman Majak Daw provided the first highlight of the match with a strong mark backing into a pack. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: Herald Sun

Quick and getting quicker. Not simply exciting North Melbourne big man Majak Daw's development, but the demands as he reaches higher in his ultra-public football career.

Daw described his impressive NAB Cup form on Friday night as another small step, a sentiment echoed by coach Brad Scott and his crew keeping watch over the Sudanese-born talent.

"I came off the bench a few times and ( said to) some of the strength and conditioning coaches, it was really quick out there. It took me a while to adjust and find my feet,'' Daw said.

"Speaking to the guys after the game, they said it's only NAB Cup and, once the season comes, it gets even faster. I was really nervous early on and Brad came to me and said 'just let your instincts take over and back yourself' and that's what I did.

"It's up to me now. I know what it's like. I guess, all the learning experiences I've gained in the pre-season, hopefully, I can play a few more NAB Cup games just to see where I'm at with my footy. I'm not going to get ahead of myself.

"One of my biggest goals was to get through the pre-season and I've done that. And then getting an opportunity in the NAB Cup. I just want to build on that each week. It would be nice to play round 1, but I've still got a long way to go.''

Daw, now on the Kangaroos' list after three years as a rookie, is being groomed to take a turn as a key forward target as well as assisting No.1 ruckman Todd Goldstein.

"It's a lot more structured. If I'm up there, I've got Drewy (Drew Petrie) and Taz (Robbie Tarrant), they take pretty big marks and I've got to learn how to work with those guys. If that means blocking for one of those guys to get the ball, then I'm happy to play my role,'' he said.

"I knew I was more prepared this time around. My body wasn't strong enough to run out a game, but it's pleasing I can have an impact on the game and I expect more of myself. I've set a standard.''

The 21-year-old exudes a confidence that's not cockiness.

He scoffed at comparisons with Buddy Franklin and Nic Naitanui, but embraced the intrigue with his African heritage.

"Those guys (Franklin and Naitanui) are bona fide AFL players, so to compare me with those guys when I haven't played my first game yet ... I can't really control what happens on YouTube and all that sort of speculation. But I'm not going to get caught up in all that stuff,'' he said.

Roos ruck coach and mentor Alex Ishchenko reflected the club's determination to keep their boy on track.

"He was pretty happy with the way I went. He said it's only a small stepping stone and that I still have a long way to go. And I know that in myself,'' Daw said.

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