KANGAROO Majak Daw's breakout season after being rebooted as a defender came despite him managing a foot injury for the majority of the year.
The 27-year-old, who finally played his 50th match in round 23 in his ninth season, will undergo surgery on Saturday.
Daw's foot was stomped on in North Melbourne's round five clash with Port Adelaide and he missed the following week's match against Sydney and the round 10 game against Fremantle.
"I have a fracture in one of the bones in my foot, so I've just got to get that fixed up," he told the club's In Review podcast.
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"I've been carrying this injury throughout the year, but the medical staff have done an amazing job managing me throughout the year.
"I really want to get it right now, so I don't have an interrupted season next year."
Daw spent his first eight seasons playing as a ruckman and forward and showed glimpses without great consistency – playing only 32 games – but injury was a major reason for that.
However, coach Brad Scott and his team concocted an audacious pre-Christmas plan to transform him into a defender.
Daw had some teething problems in the pre-season adjusting to his new role, but has blossomed into a strong complementary piece to Robbie Tarrant and Scott Thompson.
He ranked 12th in the home and away season for intercept marks with 2.9 across his career-high 18 matches, but he went to another level in the final six rounds.
Daw averaged 14.5 disposals, 7.3 marks (four intercepts and 3.3 contested), 5.7 spoils, 2.7 tackles and 2.5 rebound 50s in that period to end the year rated 'elite' as a defender by Champion Data.
He praised the Roos' medical staff for keeping him on the field this year and the coaches, who had "simplified" his new backline assignment.
"The coaches were extremely happy with how I went this year," Daw said.
"They were just encouraging me to do the things I did last off-season and continue on with that form next year.
"I've got to thank my teammates, like Scott Thompson, Robbie Tarrant, Jamie Macmillan and Josh Drummond (defence coach)."