As voted by her peers, Daisy Pearce has won the first AFLW Players’ Best Captain Award, proudly presented by KPMG Australia.
There are few players like Daisy Pearce.
She has a Patrick Dangerfield-like stature in the AFLW and you’d struggle to find a more revered and influential figure than her in the game.
Pearce is an experienced leader, she was named skipper of the Darebin Falcons as a 20-year-old back in 2008. She’s the calming voice of the Melbourne Football Club and stands up when her team needs her most.
Coming into the inaugural AFLW season, Pearce was Melbourne’s best player and the face of the competition. With rising stardom comes opposition attention and it didn’t take long for Pearce to be targeted by her adversaries.
But besides receiving extra treatment on the field, Pearce was never one to complain, explains Melbourne and Darebin teammate Elise O’Dea.
“We went into a review on Monday after losing to Brisbane and Daisy pulled me and our coach aside and said that because she’d been tackled and smashed pretty hard, she got whiplash in her neck,” O’Dea told Aflplayers.com.au.
“She woke up the day after the game and the muscles in her neck wouldn’t fire, so she physically couldn’t pick herself up off the pillow. She had to grab her hair and pull her head up that way to adjust herself.
“She was walking around like a robot the whole week because she couldn’t move her neck but she was always going to play the following week. I think she was a bit peeved when the strength and conditioning staff told her to have a light training Tuesday and Thursday night.”
O’Dea has been Pearce’s teammate since she joined Darebin a few years ago.
It was there, Pearce and O’Dea became friends. The future Demons skipper won over her teammates with her humble and understanding approach to the game and to her players.
Such is the 28-year-old’s selfless nature, she would do anything for her club and teammates on the field and also off of it.
“Our reserves coach brought one of his mates down to a Darebin game to show him some of the players that could potentially play in the AFLW competition before all the teams were announced,” O’Dea adds.
“He mustn’t have seen much of it and he asked the coach ‘which one is Daisy Pearce?’ The coach pointed to our change rooms and said ‘she’s the one sweeping out the sheds there.’
“That just sums up Daisy. She’s the first to get hands dirty and no job is too small for her to tackle, it’s things like that which go along way to creating a culture at a footy club.”
Despite her humble nature, the inside midfielder is regarded as somewhat of a modern-day footy legend, especially to her teammates.
“The look in a girl’s face when Daisy is giving them a bit of a pump during a meeting or some form of gathering is something to see. Regardless of how small it might seem, when Daisy says that to someone, that person couldn’t be more prouder,” O’Dea said.
With respect to those who came before her, Pearce is the AFLW’s first star.
Since the beginning of the national competition at the start of February, Pearce has been the Demons most sought after player — male or female — for media interviews or club commitments.
Despite her meteoric rise in the AFL and AFLW scene, Pearce, like a true leader, seems to be unaffected by her newfound fame, which is just as important when you’re the envy of every girl in the nation.
Regardless of whether you’re a teammate, a rival, or a fan, the footy world understands the role Pearce has played for women’s AFL and O’Dea said she’s blessed to have her as captain.
“I could talk about her all day and still not do her justice — that’s how highly I rate her. There’s just no one like Daisy.”