Brayden Maynard celebrated Collingwood’s sensational Grand Final victory with his teammates, family and friends.
But as the euphoric scenes kicked off on the MCG turf and into the Pies changerooms, fans online weren’t happy.
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Backlash was flooding in towards the Collingwood defender with some still seeing red he was even on the ground for the big game.
The sight of Maynard dancing around and soaking in the Grand Final victory left a bad taste in the mouth of footy fans with plenty bringing up his ugly incident with Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw.
Maynard left Brayshaw out cold in the opening minutes of their clash during week one of the finals and was sent directly through to the AFL Tribunal.
He was staring down the barrel of a three-week ban, but Collingwood lawyers successfully argued his case and saw him walk free.
Despite being cleared and the AFL electing not to appeal the decision, fans weren’t happy with Maynard’s name quickly hitting the trending list on social media.
A week after the ugly incident, Maynard spoke publicly for the first time where he addressed the backlash and toll it had taken on him.
“I’m glad it’s all done, it’s been a s**tshow this past week so just glad everything is done,” he said.
“Not going to lie it’s been a very big week, especially mentally. I don’t want to touch on it too much but I had a few moments there where I wasn’t going great but my sole focus has been on Angus and his family.
“Some of the stuff, I try my best to stay off of the media and out of it but it’s hard when there is a lot going on.
“I’ve tried my best to just move on and I’m glad it’s done.
“I’ve been really close with Angus for a while, I’ve checked up on him a couple of times. I love the guy like I said and it’s been pretty full on. I’m just glad to put it to bed and off to the side now.”
A visit to Brayshaw following the incident reportedly ruffled some Melbourne players feathers, Maynard said he was there only to check on his mate.
“I just wanted to check on his wellbeing, his welfare and on Danielle (Frawley, Angus’ fiancee) as well although she wasn’t there,” he said.
“My love and my support and my genuine care is for Angus’ wellbeing and his families.
“I don’t know why or how some of the stories have come out, but when I saw some of them I thought what the hell is that.
“I know what I did is right and just the media all around it I’ve just tried to block it out which I’ve been able to do, but it does get to a stage where it does take a toll and I’ve done my best to forget about it.”
While the AFL ultimately elected not to appeal the Tribunal’s decision, they did flag a review of players’ duty of care towards their opponents will take place before the 2024 season.
A league statement flagged a review of how incidents like Maynard’s attempted smother would be policed heading into next season.