Demons cop backlash over 'pathetic' treatment of Brayden Maynard after Angus Brayshaw incident

Many in the AFL world expected Melbourne to target Maynard on Monday - but it was the opposite.

Kane Cornes has questioned the Demons' "lack of response" towards Brayden Maynard in the first clash between Melbourne and Collingwood since the Angus Brayshaw incident. The Magpies and Demons went head-to-head on Monday in their first meeting since Maynard knocked out Brayshaw in the finals last year and 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 due to a number of concussions he's suffered.

Christian Petracca and Brayden Maynard before Melbourne's AFL clash with Collingwood.
Christian Petracca shook hands with Brayden Maynard before Melbourne's AFL clash with Collingwood. Image: Getty/Channel 7

With Melbourne taking on Collingwood on Monday afternoon, many expected the Demons players to go after Maynard and send a message about what happened. But it was the complete opposite, with Christian Petracca shaking hands with Maynard before the first bounce and the Demons failing to apply any extra pressure to him.

Maynard ended up bullying the Demons players with his aggressive play, and Melbourne failed to show any real intent to take on the game. The Demons never recovered from a slow and uninspiring start, falling to a 38-point loss. It marks back-to-back losses for Simon Goodwin's side after they were humiliated to the tune of 92 points against the Dockers last week.


Monday's display was particularly disappointing considering fans wanted to see some sort of response after the embarrassing performance against Fremantle. And for Cornes, it should have started with making a point to target Maynard early.

"They were shaking his hand," Cornes said about Maynard. "I couldn't believe it. Let's shake hands with the opposition before this game. There was no statement, no response after what happened. They should have given him a harder time.

"They shouldn't be shaking hands with the player that has essentially ended someone's career. In the first game that you get the opportunity to do it. There had to be an emotional response."

Brayden Maynard in action for Collingwood against the Demons.
Brayden Maynard was brilliant as Collingwood thrashed the Demons. Image: Getty

Speaking before the game, AFL legend Leigh Matthews said the only way Melbourne were going to stop Maynard running riot was to go after him. The Collingwood player was widely booed around the MCG by Demons fans, but he used it to spur him to a brilliant performance.

In his post-match press conference, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said the team hadn't discussed Maynard before the game or made it a tactic to target him. The club's GM of football Alan Richardson also said pre-game that they wouldn't focus on him, but Demons fans felt their response on Monday was 'embarrassing' and 'pathetic'.

Maynard noted Collingwood fans had given him plenty of support during the game in response to the booing. "I cop it a little bit, especially when I have the ball," he told Channel 7 after the Magpies' win. "But to my fans, they come over the top, like they always do."

Asked if he thrived on hearing the boos, Maynard said: "We all do, don't we? We love it when the fans get involved, but I guess it's all part of the game. If the fans don't get involved, then what's the game?"

Collingwood coach Craig McRae revealed afterwards that Maynard has been dealing with an unspecified personal issue off the field this week. "He's had a lot going on this week - I won't share the details of it - but off the field it's been really hard for him," McRae said.

"So I'm sure he wanted to put on a good performance for the stuff that's happened outside of here. He's a proud man and he played exceptionally well. We love him. It's unfortunate what's happened in his private life, but I will leave it at that."