North Melbourne defender Majak Daw. Picture: AFL Photos

DEFENDER Majak Daw will play his first competitive match at AFL level in 18 months in North Melbourne's Marsh Community Series opener on Friday night. 

Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw confirmed on Thursday morning that Daw, as well as newcomers Aiden Bonar and Josh Walker, would face the Western Bulldogs. 

PRE-SEASON FIXTURE Check out your team's Marsh Community Series games

Daw played only four VFL matches last season after recovering from horrific hip and pelvic injuries in a fall from a Melbourne bridge in December 2018. 

Majak Daw will face the Western Bulldogs. Picture: AFL Photos

The 28-year-old was an outside chance to make a triumphant senior return until a hamstring injury ended his season. 

Daw's been a good performer during the pre-season and strong performances in match simulation and last week's intraclub set him up for selection. 

He is competing with Walker, Sam Durdin and Ben McKay to join Robbie Tarrant in the key defensive posts, after Scott Thompson's retirement. 

"I'm really proud and happy to say 'Maj' will play tomorrow night and it's going to be a really exciting time for him and his family and for the club," Shaw told reporters. 

"It's been a long journey for him and he's really put his head down and stuck to his task and really re-educated himself on what it takes to be an AFL footballer. 

"He's done that and he's built up really well. 

He knows he's in for a tough battle with our backline – no one's given a game – so he's got to perform but we're really pleased with where he's at right now

- Rhyce Shaw

As reported on Tuesday, Victorian representative Shaun Higgins will join injured stars Tarrant (foot), Jack Ziebell (calf), Jared Polec (foot) and Ben Brown (calf) in not playing.  

Aaron Hall (back spasms) will also be sidelined for the Dogs clash. 

LIST RATINGS Roos' shock rise, Dogs tipped to shine

However, Shaw was confident none of Tarrant, Ziebell, Polec and Brown would be unavailable for round one. 

Brown has resumed light kicking and his sore calf is being reassessed on Friday. 


"I'm really comfortable (with all of them)," Shaw said. 

"I'm pretty keen to see them get a game under their belt before the season starts." 


Former Giant Bonar logged big midfield minutes in last week's intraclub match and will again be stationed in that role on Friday night. 

"He knows there's big competition in the midfield. We've got a really stacked group," Shaw said of Bonar.

"But I'm looking forward to see 'Bon'. He's done really well and fitted into our group really well. 

"I thought he did some pretty good things (in the intraclub game). He's someone who's built up over the pre-season."

Forward Will Walker (knee) resumed full training on Tuesday but Shaw said the plan was to get at least a couple of weeks' training under his belt before he played a game.