Maligned Collingwood player Brayden Maynard has admitted how tough the weeks have been following the unprecedented controversy over his collision with Angus Brayshaw. In one of the highest-profile incidents in recent years, Maynard was ultimately cleared of a rough conduct charge at the AFL Tribunal after collecting Brayshaw in the head with his shoulder in an attempted smother-gone-wrong.
The Demons player was left unconscious for several minutes in scary scenes. In the wake of the controversy, the AFL indicated it could tweak its rules in the off-season around dangerous contact to the head of opposition players.
And Maynard has continued to make headlines leading into the GWS thriller. And after the match the Collingwood defender was interviewed having felt the thrill of winning the contest and helping the magpies reach their first AFL grand final since 2018 in front of 97,000 fans.
When asked how he felt after the drama of the week, Maynard admitted he was shook after the Brayshaw incident leading into Friday's clash. "I am not going to lie, I spoke about it during the week, it rattled me," he said to Channel 7.
"It rattled me a lot. I had great people around me. The whole club, my family. I just want to say thank you very much to the Collingwood family and the supporters for getting around me. That week was bloody tough."
Maynard admitted the emotion of winning the one-point thriller left him shaking as the deafening crowd at the MCG roared on the Magpies right until the end. "Far out, I'm shaking. I am actually shaking," he said.
"I'm going to get a little emotional...it's a credit to GWS, I think they had three back-to-back-to back six day breaks, travelling. So all credit to GWS. Much respect and they are going to have one hell of a team in the future."
Maynard reserved some praise for coach Craig McRae for sticking by him during the tough week. The latest incident has understandably been tough on Brayshaw and his family, while also landing Maynard in the crosshairs of many angry fans, who thought the 27-year-old should have been suspended for the hit on the Melbourne player.
Sad Toby Greene locker room images emerge
While Maynard was thrilled to have advanced to the AFL grand final, Toby Greene cut a different image. Greene and Maynard went at it all night with the GWS captain having a superb game two two goals.
However, when the broadcast images cut to the locker room, Greene could be seen in tears as his family consoled the Giants captain after what can only be described as a sensational individual performance. Fox Sports analyst and five-time All-Australian Garry Lyon pointed out how much the players put into the season having just watched the locker room footage.
“You want to know how hard it is to lose a prelim final (that way)? These are some shots from down in the GWS rooms and there’s a man who is as tough and as hard and as inspirational as any in the competition – and it just rips your soul out,” five-time All-Australian Garry Lyon told Fox Footy.
“I’ve not won one (a premiership), but that makes winning one so great, because the devastation of not getting there from a prelim, let alone losing a Grand Final … it gives you an insight into how invested these boys are.”
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