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Dave's Mirra-cle

The persistence of David Mirra David Mirra has waited 8 long years and after proving himself at Box Hill he's set to debut against Melbourne.

“Jeez guys, I’m starting to tear up a little bit.”

Words of raw, uncensored emotion from Hawthorn recruit David Mirra at the MCG yesterday.

After a nine-year journey, the 27-year-old had finally registered his first AFL game – and a 67-point win, to boot.

“On the final siren, I had my head in my hands,” Mirra told 3AW after the match. 

“If you looked at me, you’d have probably thought we lost. 

“But I just had to have a moment to really soak it in.

“It’s surreal, this is what dreams are made of.” 

Read: Match report - Hawthorn v Melbourne

It has been well documented that more than 1400 hopefuls found their place on an AFL list between Mirra’s first nomination in 2009 and eventual selection in 2017. 

And, despite being a pillar of persistence in the VFL, the former Box Hill captain admits he was starting to lose hope of his AFL dream ever coming to fruition.

“I never thought this day would come.

“Last year I even contemplated going back to play local footy.

“I’m just so thankful that the Hawks gave me a shot… it’s a boyhood dream come true.”

Mirra’s ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ tale has gained plenty of traction over recent months, with the footy world gripped to see what the senior rookie would make of his opportunity. 

His first touch is one he’ll never forget.

“There were a few nerves, and that first mark I had the old trampoline chest and it bounced straight off and out of bounds,” he laughed.

“I wasn’t too happy with that, and the supporters were straight into me straight away.

“But then I settled into the game a little bit and thought it went okay.”

Settled he did; the defender finished with 18 disposals, nine intercept possessions, four inside 50s and 398 metres gained in an impressive debut performance. 

The day marked the end of a journey and the start of a new chapter, not just for Mirra himself, but for the entire support network that has been by his side since that very first draft day back in ’09.

“My family and friends messaged me before the game and said ‘we’re coming down, and we’re coming down in big numbers’. 

“The guys I’ve played footy with at Box Hill for a number of years, my family and friends that have been by my side through the whole journey, even when I got knocked back in 2009, they were all there for me.

“For them to be [here] and to celebrate…” He trails off, the emotion loud and clear. 

From a little boy who loved his footy, to a heartbroken draftee, to a VFL skipper, to finally, an AFL debutant; Mirra’s unconventional journey is one of persistence, perseverance and determination.   

“I used to walk to the ‘G and dream that one day I’d be out there. 

“To be here today is unbelievable.

“This is just a start… There’s a long way to go.”

Here’s to the next chapter of an already fascinating story.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs