Daisy Pearce is a star of the AFL Women's comp - and a midwife who has delivered 150 babies.

By now, every footy fan in the country is familiar with Daisy Pearce.

As the captain of the Melbourne Football Club’s women’s team, a six-time winner of the Helen Lambert Medal — the Brownlow of the Victorian women’s league — and a co-host of Channel 7’s Game Day, she is hailed as one of the legends of AFL. And she’s only 28.

The footy star will be leading her team into the first ever AFL Women’s competition next year, inspiring an entire generation of young girls to pursue their footy dreams.

And it’s for her successes on the sporting field that she has been nominated for the Football Woman of the Year award at the Essendon Women’s Network Grand Final Comedy Debate on Thursday.

Daisy Pearce during the Melbourne vs Bulldogs exhibition game this month. Picture: Getty.

But Pearce cheekily quips, with a laugh, that her mum (aptly named Dee) was more proud of her when she was a midwife.

"People tell my mum, 'You must be so proud of what Daisy is doing and being a role model'. She tells them she was more proud of me when I was a midwife," she jokes, adding: "Well, she has had five babies."

What many don't know about Pearce is that up until late last year when she accepted full-time work at her footy club, she had been at Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne's east.

Over the course of her five years in the job, she delivered about 150 babies.

"It was a job I loved and cherished and I'm sure I'll go back to it at some point," she says.


"It's the most amazing job in the world ... to be with people when they have their babies is something very special."

Pearce manages to draw several similarities between her two life passions: footy and midwifery.

And not just because in both professions she makes such a big difference in people's lives -- whether welcoming new life into the world or inspiring Aussie girls to play footy.

Pearce says both careers require teamwork, thinking on your feet, trusting your gut and showing strong leadership.

In football, this is obvious.

And midwifery?

"You work with so many different couples, the skill is being to have that instinct to identify their needs. Like some want to be told exactly what to do, others don't. You can't go into every birth with the same strategy."

Via Getty
Picture: Getty. 

But long before her eventual return the hospital delivery room, she is driven to continue fervently fostering women's sport.

Pearce has been playing football for as long as she can remember.

Growing up in rural Victoria's Bright with four sporty brothers and a dad who was coach of the juniors, she was always at training and kicking the footy alongside the boys.


She joined Bright's under 13s team when she was 11 years old. She was the only female player.

With the staunch backing of her teammates and her family, she didn't let her gender get under her skin.

"Occasionally I got the odd bit of heckling (from opponents). There were tough times times but I was always well supported."

And today, she is a hero for the township of Bright.

"The community, when I first started playing football, was always so supportive and they are now so proud that someone from Bright has made it in the women's league," she says.

In her early days, she resigned herself to the idea she might never get the opportunity to play at a national AFL level.

Still, she -- and other players like her -- never stopped pushing to be the best athletes they could be, no matter at what level they were competing. And she believes this is what stirred wide, public demand for a bigger, more professional platform for women's sport.

She says a major trigger for change has been to allow girls to play junior footy from a young age, giving them the room to flourish into skilled footballers as well as great athletes.

Pearce says the exhibition matches -- like the Bulldogs v Melbourne face-off earlier this month that averaged 746,000 viewers nationally -- allows the women's game to thrive by showcasing the best of their sport.

"The impact (of the exhibition games) has been enormous, and it gives girls something to really strive for," she says.

"People may have had preconceived ideas of what women's football looked like, where as now people see the athleticism and ability."

She says she can't wait to begin playing week after week in her team's quest for the premiership in the first AFL Women's competition.

Pearce describes it is a privilege to be considered a role model to young girls.

"I think back to my own 10-year-old self and how cool it would have been to have someone to look up to and try to be like in the sport I was playing. It's something I'm proud of and I do feel I have a responsibility."

Daisy is nominated for the Football Woman of the Year award at Thursday night's Liptember Grand Final Comedy Debate. Tickets are available here.

Feature image via Getty.