Season over, or an accident? Brayden Maynard’s heavy hit divides footy

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It’s the footy incident that has rocked the start of the AFL finals, and sparked fierce debate.

Brayden Maynard has defended his bone-jarring bump on Angus Brayshaw early in the first term of Thursday night’s qualifying final between Collingwood and Melbourne at the MCG. Watch the video of the incident below.

Maynard launches at Brayshaw in an attempt to smother the Demons star’s kick inside attacking 50. Just as Brayshaw is about to put foot to ball, Maynard is slightly airborne, with his arms raised.

He is then fully airborne after the kick, turning his body to brace for the hit just as he collides heavily with his opponent and appears to contact Brayshaw’s head.

Brayshaw crumbles to the turf, and is motionless. Maynard also falls to the turf, but quickly jumps to his feet. Seething Demons players, led by former Dees captain Jack Viney, rushed in to remonstrate, sparking an all-in brawl.

Brayshaw was stretchered off the ground. The Demons star has concussion and is in a minimum 12-day health protocols, meaning he will miss next weekend’s semi-final against either Carlton or Sydney. He has a history of concussions.

Maynard, while buoyant after the Magpies’ seven-point win, faces a nervous wait ahead of the judgment given by match review officer Michael Christian on Friday afternoon.

If it is graded as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact, Maynard could face an initial ban of three or more matches and be sent straight to the tribunal.

Here’s the reaction to the stunning incident, and have your say by voting in our poll below.

Brayden Maynard

“I don’t want to say too much, but it’s a footy act. I came forward, I jumped to smother the ball and yeah, unfortunately, I just got him on the way down. So, I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. But it’s all love. I absolutely love that guy to bits. So yeah, it’s shattering what happened.” (Courtesy of Seven)

Collingwood coach Craig McRae

“I’ve caught it on a phone. [I’ve seen] one view of it, one angle of it … it looks like he’s in the air. I hope Angus is OK. I’ve met him a couple of times socially, he’s a ripping guy. Hopefully, it’s not too bad for him because he’s had multiple concussions. My thoughts go out to him, I hope he’s OK. The act itself, it didn’t look like it had much malice. But I’ll leave it up to others to decide if that’s worthy of a suspension or not. I don’t know.”

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin

“[The match review will] be sorted out during the week. We’ve got a pretty shattered player in there. You can only go by the facts – he jumped off the ground and knocked a guy out. I guess time will tell. He’s upset. He’s obviously had a history with concussion, a long time ago. So, he’s obviously dealing with some emotion there. But he wants to play finals footy, and he’s going to be missing for a few weeks, and that’s disappointing. I think he’s OK [bone structurally], he’s got a bit of a shiner, but he’s all right.”

Jack Viney clashes with Magpie Brayden Maynard as teammate Angus Brayshaw is taken off the field on a stretcher.Credit: AFL Photos

Port Adelaide premiership player and Age columnist Kane Cornes

“I think that’s the way it will land, and it’s probably the way that it should land because then you can get Brayden up there [at the AFL tribunal], and he can argue his case of what was going through his mind at the time. For me, it’s pretty clear-cut. He’s left the ground before the kick was had, and he’s had to turn. You can’t disappear and unfortunately through the momentum of both players that was the outcome. You’d expect that decision to be handed down of three-plus [matches], straight to the tribunal, and then it’s up to Collingwood to try and get him off.” (Courtesy SEN)

Richmond great Matthew Richardson

“It’s really hard for him to stop … he can’t, it’s a real tough one. What else can he do? He’s heard the boos and probably realised Brayshaw is hurt, and we’re thinking about him, but it’s hard to know what else he can do there.” (Courtesy of Seven)

Geelong captain Patrick Dangerfield

“Maynard plays on the edge, but in my view, there is nothing in this. You have a duty of care to yourself to protect yourself as you come to land. Unfortunately in this game, there’s contact that occurs. He’s in the air for half a second … I know so much of what we’ve done around the rules have been what the outcome is, but I see this differently because he’s up for so long.” (Courtesy of Seven)

Dual North Melbourne premiership star David King

“When you’re discussing this, you’ve got to take your own team out of it and I know that’s difficult to do because people are attached to Collingwood, and they’re attached to Maynard, and they want to support him. You’ve got to think of the greater issue. Head trauma is prevalent at the moment, it’s a hot bed right now for the AFL. I’m not convinced that [match review officer] Michael Christian has any other option but to send it to the tribunal. They will fight it and possibly get off, he may not get off, they may have to go to appeal, but I don’t know if ‘Chrisso’ has many other options.” (Courtesy SEN)

Hawthorn premiership great Jason Dunstall

“It’s a genuine attempted smother. Once he’s in the air, he can’t disappear, he can’t change position, and it didn’t look like a massive hit per se. But, unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to result in Brayshaw not taking any further part. We hope he’s OK, but can you punish a player for jumping up in the air trying to spoil given what happened at the back-end of it?” (Courtesy of Fox Footy)

Geelong great Jimmy Bartel

“I don’t know [about a suspension]. He actually has committed to smothering the ball. Brayshaw coming out of the front of the stoppage, he is running, he is heading straight towards Melbourne’s goal, as he has put his head down to kick the footy, Maynard has come off the back of the square, has gone to jump and smother the ball in the air, but he is already committed. He has turned his body to brace for contact, but he has got Brayshaw in the face. It’s not the old-fashioned, grand final, come off the back of the square and clean a guy up.”

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