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Friday, April 12, 2019

Devoted Collingwood Magpies midfielder Chris Mayne a deserving 200-game player

Two years ago, Magpies fans were flooding the airwaves to complain about Collingwood’s acquisition of hard-working former Fremantle forward Chris Mayne.
To that point, Mayne’s output had been modest. Three games, 36 touches, 14 tackles and two goals.
By no means a disastrous set of numbers, but hardly justification for the four-year, $2 million deal Collingwood tabled to pry him from the Dockers.
He was dropped for round four and didn’t play again that year. The jungle drums were beating among supporter groups, in the media and at the club.
According to reports, Collingwood even approached Fremantle to see if they’d take Mayne back.
But by round six the following year, Mayne had flipped his fortunes on the back of a remarkably diligent 2018 pre-season campaign.
Tonight, the 30-year-old will be the toast of the MCG, when he plays his 200th game against the Western Bulldogs. A milestone he may never have reached, if not for the support of Collingwood’s tight-knit playing group.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey,” Mayne said this week.
“It is pretty daunting when you get so much criticism but it is part of the game.
“When you have such a good support network from your brothers, from the club and then from your family you’re in a circle and that keeps you strong. I had that support to keep moving forward.
“You always want to play AFL footy, especially as a kid. When you’re not playing in the main team you do everything that you possibly can to be a part of it.”
While he doesn’t carry the profile of midfield teammates Scott Pendlebury, Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams, Steele Sidebottom and Dayne Beams, Mayne has become an important part of Collingwood’s midfield rotation.
The Perth Demons product has consistently been among the Magpies’ more prolific runners, is averaging career-high numbers for disposals and marks, and has tallied a remarkable 67 pressure acts for the season.
Mayne’s contribution off-field is also significant, and hasn’t gone unnoticed by Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.
“The way he carries himself, the professionalism he displays, the care and support he provides his teammates on and off the field is as significant as any player I’ve played alongside or coached,” Buckley said.
“As significant has been his desperation and determination (to make the) Collingwood part of his career a success. It is a feel good story for us.”
Himself a figure of derision in recent seasons, Buckley was keen to point out the magnitude of Mayne’s turnaround.
“To be able to respond from as disappointing a first year as you can imagine from a personal standpoint for him was huge,” Buckley said.
“Mayney’s career will often focus on the low points to highlight the consistency that he has had over a long period of time in the game. No one goes through a career without those challenges, but his were obviously very public a couple of years ago coming to the club in his first year.”
Drafted with pick 40 in the 2007 national draft, Mayne played 172 games with Fremantle and 27 with Collingwood, to date.
Mayne came agonisingly close to becoming a premiership player before West Coast pipped the Magpies at the post during last year’s heart-stopping grand final.
He was also part of Fremantle’s 2013 grand final side.