Ben O'Neill - AFLW - AthletesVoice
Ben O'Neill - AFLW - AthletesVoice


‘A chaotic house that loves its Mum’

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‘A chaotic house that loves its Mum’


I remember the day Daisy and I found out we were having twins.


Sitting with the doctor who told us the news that our baby was healthy and looking great.


“And moving onto the second one…”


The second one? Twins. One was life-changing. Two babies at once and my head was spinning.


Daise being Daise, though, she was excited, calm and in control – I reckon her career as a midwife meant she might have been on to the possibility of twins before we got to the appointment.


We recently celebrated Sylvie and Roy’s first birthday. Just 12 months since Daisy was pregnant, puffy and what seemed miles off the athlete she would need to be to return to the game and team she loves.


Daise had gone from weighing 58kg to 94kg just before the twins arrived.


I remember one moment in the weeks before they were born. The physical toll was beginning to mount up and she was feeling it and so off she went to see her osteo for a pregnancy massage. The osteo was about five-foot tall and next to her Daise looked like Shaquille O’Neal. We laugh about it now.


There’s a post-baby blur that I am sure all parents are familiar with. Sylvie and Roy came home and we found our feet with the support of so many great people. It’s a cliche, but raising a child really does take a village. For us, raising twins has taken a pretty big village and we are so grateful for all the help.




Daise’s motivation

Once we found something resembling a routine at home, Daise met with her trainer and good friend Kathleen Sakadjian to discuss what the first steps to fitness would be. At the same time we were watching the Melbourne girls each week from home and could see the competition improving in front of us.


We would pack Sylvie and Roy in the car, take them to Kathleen’s gym, Cuzzie Performance, and that would be our family outing for the day three times a week. The kids would be on the floor sleeping or playing and Daise would be alongside them doing some basic exercises. At the end of it, she was exhausted.


Footy has and continues to be a huge part of her life and she was really keen to make it back to play. But first and foremost she has been and continues to be the most incredible mum.



That has meant working around their schedule and at 10.30pm she would wander over to the local Olinda Ferny Creek Footy Club gym to do weights.


There was a night last winter when one of the fellas from the club stopped by the local sheds late on a Friday night to pick up the jumpers for an away game the next day.


It was freezing cold, pitch black, and there’s music pumping. In there, Daise was lifting old metal weights in her only bit of spare time.


The motivation for Daise to play AFLW again was always one thing – she loves the game. It’s like so many people around the country who get out and play on the weekends.


For years before the AFLW came to life she was doing it for Darebin and it meant as much then as it does with the Dees.




‘I ride every bump’

The AFLW is maybe a little different to the AFL in the sense that it’s still quite pure.


It’s hard for me to hear and read criticism of AFLW. I have been on the edge of my seat watching AFLW just as much as I did watching the men’s game for 30 years.


Her coach Mick Stinnear and the entire Melbourne footy club have been amazing support. At no stage did it feel like they were losing a player or putting pressure on her to return.


When she did come back to play, she had to then learn a new position. She’s been a midfielder all her footy life and one night she came home and said ‘I think they’re going to play me at halfback’.


It would have been tough to skill herself up for the challenge but she never whinged or questioned it. It’s what the team needed, so that’s what she did.

I ride the bumps when I watch her play. I like to get on the boundary line on my own and take it in.


There’s one thing I hate seeing though. My heart rate picks up seeing her cut in front of a charging forward to intercept the footy. I know what she’s like and she isn’t going to get out of the way. When I can see what’s coming, I find that tough to sit and deal with. I’ve said to her maybe we can ease back on those contests but that’s not happening.


Daise has had great balance and perspective around her footy in her return, something I think Sylvie and Roy can take some credit for.


She loves her footy, she’s good at it and she’s a great leader, but win or lose she comes home to a chaotic house that loves its Mum regardless of the result.





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