MAJAK Daw remains in football "no man's land" eight years into his AFL career, with his lack of game sense allowing opposition teams to expose him when he plays in attack, his former North Melbourne teammate Nick Dal Santo says.
Daw signed a three-year contract extension with North last September, having played a career-high nine games in 2016 and kicked a team-high four goals in the Roos' elimination final loss to Adelaide.
The 26-year-old's start to 2017 was disrupted by knee and quad injuries, but the Kangaroos created a spot for him in their forward line in round 14 by moving spearhead Jarrad Waite on to a wing.
In the three games since, Daw has struggled to have an impact as a forward/support ruckman, averaging five possessions, 10.7 hit-outs, 1.7 marks and one goal. He took two contested marks against the Bulldogs in round 14, but has not taken one since.
The 195cm tall was particularly ineffective in attack in North's four-point loss to Fremantle on Sunday, recording just four possessions and one mark.
Dal Santo told SEN radio on Monday North still could not rely on Daw as a forward.
"From what we say yesterday, (he's in) no man's land," Dal Santo said.
"I still don't know what we get from Majak. He had an opportunity again on the weekend as a forward. (He) doesn't read the play well enough to impose himself as a forward, he wasn't physical enough in certain contests.
"He's a lovely fella, Maj. He's still learning the game, he's still developing the craft and the knowledge about the structures and the technical aspects of the game.
"But he's getting exposed at AFL level when other teams know it a lot better than he does."
Ben Brown, 24, has established himself as North's No.1 key forward this season in the wake of Drew Petrie's departure at the end of last year, while the Kangaroos look well placed to cover Waite's eventual retirement with a list that boasts Daw and fellow talls Mason Wood, Nick Larkey and Ben McKay.
Dal Santo, however, suggested rival clubs could approach North at the end of this season about a trade for Daw.
"He's as big as anybody in the league, he's got muscles on muscles. There might be something out there… I think there would be a club that would be prepared to take that on," Dal Santo said.
Dal Santo played with Daw at Arden St from 2014-16 before retiring at the end of last season.