NORTH Melbourne's Majak Daw has embraced his remarkable rise to fame ahead of a near-certain AFL debut in 2013.
During his three years on the Kangaroos rookie list, the Sudanese-born footballer has never been far from the headlines - the victim of racism, tabloid front pages, a high profile VFL tribunal case and a club-imposed suspension.
The powerful big man has often been described at the most famous footballer never to have played a home and away game - a reference Daw embraces, rather than cringes at.
"I guess it’s true … I haven't played any games and there are other players out there who have played hundreds of games and some people don’t know their names," he told AFL.com.au.
"It can go both ways - I can get a ahead of myself by all this hype but what I’ve chosen to do is stay very grounded and just concentrate on what’s in my control."
The Kangaroo says he's now ready to live up to all the hype and headlines.
"I’m trying to give myself the opportunity to do the best I can … I don’t think there’s any AFL player out there who doesn’t thrive under pressure," he said.
“The more pressure I’m around, the more I’m willing to succeed.
"It [a possible AFL debut] is something I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. I’ve still got a long way to go. When the opportunity comes I’ll be able to grab it with both hands.
"At the moment I’m just concentrating on what’s in my control and hopefully putting my name up there for the coaches."
After a strong pre-season and exciting NAB Cup form, Daw is on the cusp of selection in the season proper.
The 21-year-old was prevented from playing Gold Coast in Townsville last weekend due to swelling in his knee , but said the club was just being cautious.
"It was just protocols and (the) medical staff just didn’t want to take me up there, just give me a week’s rest," Daw said.
But that doesn’t automatically mean he’ll be lining up for the seniors against Geelong at Skilled Stadium on Saturday - that decision rests with the coaches.
"It’s going well, I should be right to play this week in the VFL or if I get an opportunity at AFL level," he said.
Matt Thompson is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @MattThompsonAFL