Madut on the rise

Written By: Andrew Owen   |    Photo: Michael Flood

David Madut has only been playing football seriously for the past three years.  During this time he was runner-up in the colts best and fairest at his amateur club, was selected in the WA State 18’s squad after only playing seven games at colt’s level and in his second season at Subiaco, broke through for a league debut.

Not bad considering football was not his chosen sport.  “When I was younger I played a lot of football, which in Australia is known as Soccer.  This is the sport that I grew up with.”

David was born and spent the early part of his life in South Sudan, Africa.  In 2004, at the age of 11 he moved to Melbourne, Australia, where he lived for the next six years until he came to Perth at the start of 2010.

After getting settled into his new environment, Madut became involved with the Edmund Rice Foundation.  A part of the foundation is the community football club, the Edmund Rice Lions.  This is a team made up of newly arrived people to Australia from other countries.  It is a transition program where multicultural kids get involved with football and then try and find a club in the local amateur leagues.  It was here that Madut had his first experience with a football team.  “At the Lions we trained two nights a week and hopefully were able to organise games against other teams/clubs like Clontarf.”

One of the first people to see Madut play for the Lions was West Australian Football Commission’s (WAFC) Multicultural Co-ordinator, Paul Mugambwa.  “The first time I saw him play I thought; wow this kids a big standout.”

It was through the Edmund Rice Lions that Madut became involved with the Kingsway Amateur Football Club.  In his one and only season there he made quite an impression.  “In my first year I got runner-up best and fairest in the colts.”

His improvement soon had him in the Bakari Royals program.  As Madut explains, the Royals are a program that follows on from the Edmund Rice Lions for players that show some potential.  “The Bakari Royals is a program designed by the East Perth Football Club to get the kids from Aranmore Catholic College, the Lions and kids in the community who might not have been fortunate enough to have had an experience in football before.  We train for roughly six to eight weeks and through this hopefully some of us make the transition to an amateur club or if we are good enough a West Australian Football League (WAFL) team might have a look at us.”

It was here that Mugambwa stepped in to help Madut progress to the next level.  “Well I’m a South Fremantle player and David was way outside our district.  It was clear to me that David had some raw talent and I knew he needed to be playing at a higher level if he was going to progress and develop.”  Mugambwa then contacted Craig Starcevich who was looking after the high performance and a lot of the academies at the WAFC.  “Me and Craig kept talking and decided that he’s in the Subiaco district so we contacted Talent Manager Jeff Lind from the Lions and said we have a kid that you might be interested in looking at.”

Lind decided to take the punt and invited him down to colts training.  “For the first three weeks I had to pick him up and take him to every training session and then when he started getting to know all the boys he was able to get lifts until he found his own transport.”

Lind said that for someone who hadn’t been playing football for long, Madut was very much a work in progress when he initially came down but he had a strong desire to learn.  “When he first came down to training his skills were reasonable but they certainly needed a lot of polish and he worked really hard to improve them.  He’s a great student, he listens, he asks questions and he picks things up very quickly.  Not only that but he works very hard on improving himself.”

Preseason is tough and gruelling, even for the most seasoned footballers but imagine if you were making the transition from amateur football to WAFL football and had only been playing the game for a year.  It was this transition that Madut found tough to start with.  “At times I found myself feeling drained and tired every day after training, just because I wasn’t used to it.  The coaches and the support staff looked after me seeing as it was my first year of WAFL.”

After Madut managed to get through the preseason he set himself the goal of adjusting to the way that Subiaco played and getting a good understanding of the game.  He started the year reasonably well, averaging close to 17 hitouts a game.  He looked to be progressing nicely and even made the 2012 State 18’s squad.  This was until he did a partial tear of his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).  “I got sidelined and that taught me a lot as I got to sit with the coaches and see what they get to see from the coaches box.  I learnt a lot about general movement of the ball, especially as a ruckman in where you should position yourself and where you shouldn’t.”

Madut missed 14 weeks in total with his ACL injury but it was his determination to get back and succeed that impressed those around him, particularly Jeff Lind.  “David worked his backside off during those 14 weeks.  In that period he became a very efficient left foot kick which is his non preferred foot.”

The drive to succeed had him back for the final two games of the 2012 season.  The first game was for the colts against Peel Thunder and the week after he got promoted to the reserves for the game against Claremont.

With his first season at Subiaco behind him, Madut worked hard over the preseason to further improve his game.  He played the first six games of the 2013 season in the reserves where in one match against Peel he kicked a bag of four goals.  This stand out display saw him picked to make his league debut against the Perth Football Club the following week.  Madut, like any young player was excited about making his debut but was still a little apprehensive.  “When I was told by the coach that I was going to make my league debut as excited as I was, I was awfully nervous.”

Madut had nine disposals, one goal and eight hitouts for the match but says he’s glad that it is done with.  “I’m glad it’s out of the way now and hopefully I can keep playing well and try to keep my spot in the league side.”

Unfortunately Paul Mugambwa, who played a big part in getting Madut to Subiaco, was unable to watch him make his debut due to his own playing commitments at South Fremantle.  He still had this to say though about David’s debut.  “It’s always been his dream to keep progressing and get as far as he can.  This is a massive step for him that he has achieved and we’re all very proud of him.”

Now that he’s ticked off the goal of making his league debut, what would he like to achieve for the remainder of the season.  “The goal for the rest of the season is to play a lot of football and hopefully keep getting selected by the coaching staff and get the boys up.  We all have aspirations of playing finals football this year and we are not far off.”

Madut like most young WAFL players has hopes of one day getting drafted by an AFL club but realises that it may not happen.  He explains that if he doesn’t get drafted then there’s no reason why he won’t remain in the WAFL.  “The WAFL is continually getting better from the two years I’ve been here and I don’t see why I can’t continue playing for the Subiaco Football Club.”  Playing 100 games is also something he has on his mind.  “You walk around the clubrooms and you see the names of all the past players up on the boards, lockers and they are honoured for being at the club for that long.  If I’m fortunate enough to play 100 games for Subiaco I would be pretty happy about that.”

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