As voted by her peers, Daisy Pearce has won her second AFLW Players’ Best Captain Award, presented by KPMG Australia.
Daisy Pearce was earmarked early on as the face of women’s footy as it began the transition to a national stage.
Before she was named the skipper of the Darebin Falcons at the age of 19, captaining the side to a premiership in the same season, she’d already appeared alongside another Victorian women’s football stalwart in the E.J Whitten Legends Game in 2007.
By the time the exhibition games came around in 2013, Pearce was the only option as the Demons first pick in the inaugural women’s draft.
Equally, she was the logical choice as their captain when the AFLW came to life at the beginning of 2017 and her stocks have only risen since.
But despite her presence on the field, the 2018 AFL Players’ Association’s Best Captain Award winner still believes she’s like anyone else, according to a close friend and foe.
“Daisy is a bit like me in that she doesn’t believe in the hype around her ability as a player,” Fremantle captain and former Victorian, Kara Donnellan, told AFLPlayers.com.au.
“She just likes to go about her business and play footy because that’s what she likes to do. She’s humble and laid back in that way. That’s why so many people love and respect her on and off the field.”
Donnellan first met a young Pearce a week after the latter appeared in that Legends Game more than a decade ago.
The Fremantle midfielder was only 15 at the time and despite being only four years Pearce’s junior, Donnellan was already in awe of the young footballer.
Fast forward nearly 11 years and her peers voted Pearce as the league’s best leader for the second AFLW season, making it two from two for the Melbourne captain.
When it comes to what separates her from the rest of the AFLW leaders, Donnellan said it’s in the sheer amount of time Pearce has spent in the game.
“The thing she has that gives her the edge over the others is experience,” Donnellan added.
“She has been a leader for a long time, since she was quite young and the presence she has out there is priceless.
“On the field, I love how she leads by example and through her actions. She also voices and directs well and that’s a part I’ve tried to grow and establish in the last few years.
“She knows the game like the back of her hand. She’s the best student of the game I’ve seen. The things she’s taught me in the last 10 years, I’ll forever be grateful for.
“She’s a true champion. You can only hope others respect you the way you respect Daisy.”
Having known each other for more than a decade and played against each other many times, Donnellan has also been privy to Pearce’s mischievous side, which is reflected both on and off the field.
“She a bit of jokester and loves having a laugh. We’ve had plenty of those over the years,” Donnellan said.
“Her best traits are her humour, she has a wicked sense of humour, and she’s just a lovely person to have around. She lights up the room.
“She’s a bit cheeky out on the ground at times, too. She never crosses the line and I’ve never been on the end of anything but I’ve been in earshot a few times.
“She’s very witty and it’s quite entertaining.”
Football has also taken Pearce from her lounge room in Bright to the commentary box at the MCG — something she always wanted to do.
But whether she’s calling the action or being a part of it, Pearce’s unassuming nature always shines through. You rarely see her flustered and that’s also the case away from her professional life.
“She’s a very caring person and she’ll always give you the time of day. It’s not always about footy for her and she’ll always want to know what’s happening away from the field with you.
“She’s a fantastic character, a fantastic human being and obviously an amazing footballer as well.
“She’s a good mate of mine and she’s been a pioneer of the game — it’s been awesome to watch where the game has taken her.”