Brayden Maynard in sad admission about Angus Brayshaw fallout ahead of milestone match

Maynard says he never wanted to be a villain but it is a persona he has been forced to embrace.

Brayden Maynard says he never wanted to be an AFL villain but has learned to embrace the role, even after the unfortunate incident with Angus Brayshaw in last year's finals series. Ahead of his milestone match against North Melbourne this weekend, the Magpies hardman says he has embraced being disliked after receiving a chorus of boos every time he touched the ball in the first clash between Melbourne and Collingwood since the Brayshaw incident on Monday.

"I don't really like being hated by the other fans. But I can see why they do hate me," Maynard said on Wednesday ahead of his 200th AFL appearance this weekend. "But I promise I'm a good guy, a great guy.

Pictured left Brayden Maynard and right Angus Brayshaw
Brayden Maynard says he never wanted to be a villain but it is a persona he has been forced to embrace after the Angus Brayshaw incident. Image: Getty

"The only thing that really matters to me is what my teammates and the club thinks of me and I know within the four walls that I think I've got a great amount of respect and I love everyone in this club. So that's all that matters to me. I don't really pay attention to any of the outside noise. The guys that I run out with every week are the guys I play for and they play for me as well."

Maynard became one of the league's most disliked players after he knocked out Brayshaw in the finals last year, a blow that ultimately ended his career. Brayshaw suffered a heavy concussion after Maynard's jumping attempt to smother backfired and he collected his opponent in the head with his shoulder.

Maynard was cleared at the AFL tribunal over the hit, but Brayshaw was forced to retire earlier this year as a result of several concussions sustained playing the sport. As a result, the Collingwood player was mercilessly booed by Demons fans on Monday but he used it to spur him on to a brilliant performance. Maynard bullied Melbourne players with his aggressive style as the Demons failed to get a foothold in the game, eventually going down to their rivals by 38 points.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10: Brayden Maynard of the Magpies in action during the round 13 AFL match between Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne Demons at Melbourne Cricket Ground, on June 10, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)
Brayden Maynard starred for the Magpies against the Demons on Monday.

While the boos at the start of the game were deafening, his performance saw the noise from the rowdy Demons supporters overshadowed by the cheers from the Pies fans. "There was a bit of a build-up. I actually tried to stay off social media because I knew everything would pop up again," Maynard said.

"So I did quite well in that sense. To get booed every time I got the ball but then the Magpie army to come over those boos and give a big cheer, it did mean a lot."

Maynard knows when his competitiveness takes over he can get angry and aggressive but insists he is an entirely different person off the field. "It's a bit of white-line fever," Maynard said.

"I do get pretty angry and pretty aggressive when I cross that white line, but that's just a part of who I am and I wouldn't want any other way. And I don't think I'd be here today if I didn't have that balance between when I'm off the field relaxing, big, gentle giant, but then when I cross it I'm a different beast."

with AAP