A Tribute to Nick Maxwell

It seems so sudden. A wonderful career of one of just 4 men to captain Collingwood to a premiership since 1936 is over. Nick Maxwell is and always will be Collingwood royalty.

Danielle Eid has already written a superb tribute to the great man for this site ( www.footyalmanac.com.au/nick-maxwell-smart-mission-complete/ ) but I also felt the need to honour the contribution of the most recent Magpie premiership skipper.

Maxwell did it the hard way. Not being drafted after playing for the Geelong Falcons, he impressed enough in his season in the VFL with North Ballarat to be taken as a rookie selection by Collingwood. Alongside a young, clean-skinned Dane Swan, Maxwell was part of the 2003 Williamstown (the then Collingwood  affiliate) VFL premiership team. His Collingwood AFL debut took place in round 9 of 2004, promoted to senior list after the luckless Tom Davidson was put on the long term injury list after doing his knee. He played 10 games in that first season.

Maxwell cemented his place in the team over the next few years and by 2008 had inherited the number 5 guernsey vacated by Nathan Buckley on Buckley’s recommendation. He was also made vice captain to new skipper Scott Burns, a sign of things to come. Burns retired after a single season in the top job and on the 17th of December, 2008, Nick Maxwell was announced as Collingwood’s 48th captain. His 5 season stint in the role was of course highlighted by leading the Magpies to the 2010 flag. And lead he did. The Maxwell knockers (and there are plenty) need only watch the 2010 drawn Grand Final to see how good a player he was. Lead from the front, showed plenty of courage and kept repelling attacks from a fast finishing St Kilda. The ultimate captains game. His last quarter mark. The diving save from a Riewoldt kick at goal.

2009 was his All-Australian year and also a second placing in the Copeland Trophy. Most pie fans will tell you 2010 and 2011 were his best years. I thought his 2012 was ordinary and his 2013 right back to his best. Apart from a couple of games this season he was in great form. I was hoping for a 2015 finale. But his battered body deserves respite. He has given everything, got every ounce out of himself. Maxwell will be missed straight away. The Gold Coast game two weeks ago, where Maxy was absent, highlighted an inexperienced Magpie backline exposed for it’s lack of leadership and organisation. He won’t be easily replaced.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet the Collingwood legend a couple of times. Maxwell went to school with my cousin Tom at St Joseph’s College in Geelong and they played footy at the St Joseph’s Football Club together. Their lives have gone on completely different tracks (Tom has served in the Australian Army in several places including Afghanistan) but they remain close. Tom handed the ball to the umpires at the 2012 ANZAC Day game and featured in a television interview with Maxwell on Channel 7 that day. Here is an insight to their friendship collingwoodfc.com.au/news/2012-04-24/mates-for-life-nick-maxwell-and-tom-reynolds


luke various 001

Nick Maxwell and the author in 2008

At the family functions I have met him I have found him to be a very likeable, one of the boys, very engaging type of bloke. Very interested in other people. I tried my hardest to ask him about anything but Collingwood but that didn’t last. Tried to act cool and not show my admiration for one of my black and white heroes.  Doubt it worked, doubt he remembers me. But that’s OK. I’m just happy to have rubbed shoulders with Magpie royalty. To my Carlton supporting cousins Tom and his older brother Jarrod he is just their mate. To me he is a Collingwood icon. There’s not much of his 208 game career I’ve missed. I’m sad to see him go but thankful for his great contribution to the Magpie cause. I’m sure we will still see Nick Maxwell in football circles. He could coach, commentate, manage or even take over from Perty as Collingwood’s CEO.

All the best Maxy, thanks for your wonderful contribution.


About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Great tribute Luke. There’s always lots to like about people that do it the hard way, who show us their best, and as a result, inspire us to also do our utmost. Who do you think should be the next captain?

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Excellent and appropriate tribute , Luke and amazing for a guy with so many knockers yet generally with in footy circles considered as a under rated player , will be amazed if he is not a huge success in what ever part of the football industry he ends up in
    Yes he is definitely , Collingwood royalty thanks , Luke

  3. The People's Elbow says

    I don’t know how much Maxwell was on (nor do I think I want to know), but I’m confident in saying it’s enough to ensure he could buy a shirt that fit him properly… although he does have something of a long neck that may require the services of a bespoke tailor.

    That said, I suspect most people are distracted by his dreadful ‘soul patch’ to notice his lack of sartorial grace.

  4. Danielle says

    Love this piece Luke.
    Thanks for the shoutout :)
    To say Maxy is Magpie royalty is a perfect description.
    He’s ‘the people’s captain’ as his work and attitude to his team mates and the supporters is very Prince William.
    I dont think it will sink in for me until they the boys run out without him.

  5. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great stuff Luke,
    That last quarter mark in the drawn GF may have spared us years of pain. Always grateful for Nick, soul patch and all.

  6. Absolute gold Luke , you even got tears out of Carlton and Geelong supporters !!

  7. how i enjoy your writing Luke but still go CATS

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Mickey. Hopefully Pendlebury has the captaincy for a long time. After that it could be Sidebottom, Beams or someone younger who makes an impression.

    Thanks Malcolm, those of us who have watched him every don’t underrate his contribution.

    Litza, not a fan of soul patches myself.

    Thanks Danielle. Watching a Maxwell-less Magpie team will take much getting used to.

    Cheers Phil. I can’t bear to think what things would be like if St Kilda won that 2010 Grand Final.

    Thanks for reading Dean and Lizzie!

  9. Yeah, he is a Joey’s boy, so he was ‘brung up proper’. Another of those players who got every ounce (gram) out of a limited amount of talent. Since he had to work hard at his game, he probably would make an excellent coach, but it is clear he has more sense than that and will come back as an administrator. Could be the next Brian Cook?

  10. Dave Brown says

    Fantastic tribute Luke, many thanks for posting it up.
    If Adams learns to kick the ball with his head up, I would bookmark him as a future Captain before Sidebottom or Beames…(I’m not sure how long they will stay….)

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Roy, definitely see him more as an administrator than coach. But I’m sure both those options, as well as media, are open to him if he chooses.

    Thanks Dave. Adams’ disposal is very ordinary. He gets the ball enough so hopefully he can improve in that area. Hopefully after a long Pendlebury stint in the captaincy role there will be a clear cut choice.

  12. Dave Nadel says

    I think it is a bit early to be anointing Pendlebury’s successor. I would expect Pendles to continue as captain for at least another five years. However I think the club should consider awarding Maxy’s #5 guernsey to Tom Langdon next year. Langdon is certainly being developed to continue Maxwell’s role as the extra man in defence. His personal history of improving his game after missing selection in his original draft year and then seizing his opportunity at the start of his first season suggests at the very least that he has Maxwell’s determination and concentration. Whether he has Maxy’s leadership skills remains a question for the future.

  13. Luke Reynolds says

    Spot on Dave, Pendlebury should be our long term skipper. Very much like the idea of Tom Langdon inheriting the number 5. Not a fan of how players are talked up as potential captains after only a few games as Langdon was earlier this year. We are a long way off anointing Pendles’ successor. The right man will stand up in time.

  14. DBalassone says

    Said Luke. Thought he was in All-Aust form this year until the injury. A huge loss.

  15. David Hamzy says

    Fantastic tribute Luke to a great Collingwood person. I’m sure Pendles has got hard shoes to fill bu t I’m confident he can be just as successful as Maxxy.

    Macy has shown what dedication and passion is all about when it comes to the jumper and that old saying never give up is very appropriate in Nick’s case.
    Hope to catch up with u at the footy one day Luke. Go Pies!

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