Daisy Pearce is thrilled with her return to AFLW, almost two years after her last game. (Provided: Melbourne Football CLub)
During her pregnancy there were times when Melbourne AFLW captain Daisy Pearce doubted she would ever return to football, but with her family watching her, she is about to return.
Pearce will play in a game of testing against Collingwood today, having lost the last AFLW season to having twins Sylvie and Roy.
“I think it’s been almost two years since I last played, given the moment when things have moved,” he said.
“It’s been a long time, but also a long journey to get back out there.”
At first, she worried that she would have difficulty returning physically to the fitness levels required for AFLW.
“The incredible, extreme change your body undergoes while you’re pregnant is difficult to imagine going out and practicing a physically demanding contact sport,” she said.
“The idea only seems very, very far away.”
Pearce worked closely with a club physiotherapist and a female health physiotherapist in the early stages of his return before returning to running and lifting weights about three months after having his twins.
But once he had his kids, he said he understood that there were other challenges.
“It was more mentally about sacrifice and wanting to devote your time to that when you have these two beautiful little people at home that you could easily, and for the most part, give every ounce of yourself.”
Along the way he received some advice from former Australian netball star Sharelle McMahon.
“He took it first, I think, while he was still playing netball and then came back later, so it was nice to talk to her,” he said.
“And even just other moms who did sports or went back to work, it was all quite relevant.”
Throughout his return journey, Pearce’s family has been literally there for every step.
Daisy Pearce will return to captain the Demons in the AFLW 2020 season. (Provided: Melbourne Football Club)
Her partner Ben took a year off from work as a fireman.
“Having his support was pretty crucial, we did it together as a team for a long time,” he said.
“When I say a team, I mean Ben, Sylvie, Roy and I around gyms and dating and all we had to do.”
Both Sylvie and Roy’s grandmothers also joined gymnastics sessions to help out.
“Sometimes it seemed more trouble than it was worth dragging the whole family out for a gym session, but I found that it really helped me get more done.”
And everyone will be at the game today cheering on Pearce.
“The plan is that everyone will move forward and it will be nice to see them all waiting and I hope they all feel part of getting me back out there,” he said.
Since returning to training before the 2020 season, Pearce has claimed to have noticed that AFLW standards have increased while he was away.
“General Athletics – I’m pretty inspired and amazed at how athletically the girls came in terms of what they were doing in the gym and the numbers they were getting by lifting weights and running.”
The AFLW season starts on February 7th and will be the fourth year of the competition.
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