Brayden Maynard's controversial incident with Angus Brayshaw has been thrust back into the spotlight, after the Collingwood vice-captain made the most of his reprieve in the AFL grand final on Saturday. Maynard helped the Magpies win their first premiership since 2010 as Collingwood prevailed 12.18 (90) to 13.8 (86) over the Brisbane Lions.
But for many, the sight of Maynard celebrating with his premiership medal and the grand final cup left a sour taste in the mouth. Maynard knocked out Brayshaw in Collingwood's win over Melbourne in the first week of the finals and was referred directly to the AFL tribunal.
He was facing a season-ending three-game ban for his high bump on Brayshaw, which left the Demons player unconscious on the MCG turf. But Collingwood lawyers managed to get him off at the tribunal, clearing him to play after successfully arguing the incident was unavoidable after Maynard leapt into the air to attempt a smother.
The 27-year-old certainly made the most of the let-off, winning his first flag on Saturday. Maynard's relief and jubilation was clear for all to see as he let out a gigantic roar after receiving his medal on stage.
But the Magpies vice-captain was trending on Twitter immediately after full-time, and the majority were fuming that he was allowed to play in the first place. One fan wrote: "Reminder than Maynard shouldn’t have even been available for this game."
Maynard shouldn’t be playing and gets away with a blatant high
— Julian 🇮🇹🇦🇺 (@Jay_Vee_23) September 30, 2023
Fire these umpires, overhaul the system or I'm done with AFL. They couldn't make a right call to save their lives. Disgraceful what the AFL has become. Maynard shouldn't have been there. GWS should have been there instead of Collingwood. I expect serious reform.
— Maxwellius (@Maxwellius93) September 30, 2023
Don’t forget they shouldn’t have even been in it.
- Maynard gone
- Toby high
- no advantage
— Jason (@JAS333_) September 30, 2023
Reminder than Maynard shouldn’t have even been available for this game
— georgia (@jamarra_time) September 30, 2023
Happy for Darcy, happy for Bobby but seeing Maynard with a medal is 🤮
— cry (@crybabysnow) September 30, 2023
Makes me sick seeing Maynard playing footy tonight.
— Ryan Harvey (@RyanHarvey1993) September 22, 2023
… I’m not a Collingwood fan.
Maynard shouldn’t be playing.
— art (@stuartistics) September 30, 2023
Brayden Maynard's grand final triumph after Brayshaw storm
Speaking ahead of the grand final, Maynard lifted the lid on the stress of his tribunal hearing and the mixed emotions he went through. Brayshaw wasn't able to play in the second week of the finals, and there are fears his latest bout on concussion could be career-ending.
"It was pretty crazy, my mind was completely on what had been happening. Luckily, we had the week off - that helped a lot," Maynard told AAP.
"But that whole week was really, really challenging. It was probably the only thing I thought about. I tried to stay off social media, which I was really good at. I stayed off the news, but just thinking about the 'what-ifs', if I do miss a prelim, if I do potentially miss a grand final.
"That really was hurting me deep and I didn't know what to think, to handle it. I had a lot of conversations with (sports psychologist) Jacqui (Louder) and she helped me a lot."
It also emerged that Maynard had visited Brayshaw and his fiancee Danielle Frawley at their home not long after the incident. The Collingwood star said he was fuming over the way it was reported in the media.
"It actually pisses me off, because some of the comments made by a few journos - and they know who they are - they weren't actually there, they don't know what happened," he said. "It did annoy me quite a lot, because I was just doing it from the bottom of my heart.
"I have a really good relationship with Danielle and Angus and for me to go over there, I wanted to do that, I wanted to show my care for him, throw my arms around him. For people to come out and have their say on it ... I think they need to be held accountable for some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths, because it adds fuel to the fire when it doesn't need to be done."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.