(Nick) Maxwell Smart: Mission Complete?


Maxy being chaired off by his team mates. Source: Ryan Pierse

Maxy being chaired off by his team mates. Source: Ryan Pierse


It’s a very sad day for true Collingwood supporters with Nick Maxwell hanging up his boots. After he got injured against Essendon we all freaked out but all that was said was that scans would be done. A day later and social media exploded with rumours that it was a season-ending injury and Maxy would be announcing his retirement the next day alongside Ben Hudson.

Rumours are funny things, they’re hard not to believe especially when all the journalists jump on the wagon along with Dr Peter Larkin. All we were waiting for was confirmation from the great man himself who mind you hadn’t tweeted since last year lol.

People were tweeting their admiration and sadness, shattered to be losing such an influential figure. Despite everything Nick was always loyal, at times it seemed even putting the club before his own family. His wife Erin always showed her support for him and you know what they say, behind every great man is a great woman.

Erin is always there for her main man. Source: Scott Barbour

Erin is always there for her main man.
Source: Scott Barbour










The Maxwell clan featuring the kids Milla and Archie. Source: Graham Denholm

The Maxwell clan featuring the kids Milla and Archie.
Source: Graham Denholm

Erin was open in tweeting her heartbreak when Maxy limped off:

“Please no..” she tweeted.

Being the brave, selfless man he is having played many times with a broken hand, Maxy ran out one more time. Like us at home, thinking all was good she tweeted:

“And we are back out! #gomaxy #comeon”

His last run out and he was carrying a season ending injury, seems only right to finish his career that way too, in dedicated Maxwell fashion.

Nick Maxwell has copped a lot of shit throughout his career but he never let it bring him down.

He was rejected many times but he never gave up hope in his dream to play AFL footy.

When he arrived at Collingwood he was given the number 27 jumper but by 2008 he had proved himself to be the leader of the nest and was given the number 5 jumper and captaincy. In that jumper he accomplished what its previous wearer Nathan Buckley couldn’t. Maxwell captained Collingwood to a Premiership.

Despite his struggle to prove himself, his hard work and obvious leadership both on and off-field it’s no secret Maxwell is a target of negative criticism from many AFL fans.

“He’s a dud.” They’d say.

“He’s useless.” They’d mock.

“What a shit captain.” They’d remark.

I was always ready to take on these people who were so smug. If I could line-up these people and kick them where it hurts (inspired by Katie lol) one-by-one I would. How can people not see what this man has done for this club?

They had no idea why Maxwell was captain. They didn’t just pick his name out of a hat, he was the man for the job. So what if he didn’t get 30 disposals per game or kick five goals, that was NOT his role.

A True Leader. Maxwell has his game face on leading the team onto the ground.

A True Leader. Maxwell has his game face on leading the team onto the ground.

If these people had actually done any reading they’d know that Maxy was regarded as the player the boys most trusted to the point they’d go to him with their personal problems. For many he was the mate who was always there and probably the bigger brother some of the boys never had.

If these people would look away from our forward-line and to the back-line they’d see Maxy shouting out instructions, waving his arms conducting and teaching the young defence. That’s what I see when I think about Maxy, I see him hoisting the 2010 premiership cup over his head standing in the crowd and I see him waving his arms coaching the defenders himself.

Man In charge. Commander Maxwell orders the defence troops.  Source: (AAP Joe Castro)

Man In charge. Commander Maxwell orders the defence troops.
Source: (AAP Joe Castro)

I’m so glad to say I’ve always respected Maxy and the day I met him only strengthened this respect. He came to La Trobe to guest lecture us sport journalism students. After the lecture he was kind enough to stay back for my partner and I so we would interview him for our radio assignment. I remember being strangely calm. He was so down to earth and didn’t make us feel like silly uni students, I felt ridiculously comfortable when asking him our questions. He didn’t hold back or give us a hard time getting answers out of him. After we were done we were thanking him for his time and we had a technical difficulty, our recorder was not playing back the interview. Instead of dashing off like I’m sure any other busy AFL captain would, Maxy was happy to stay back insisting to re-do the whole interview again for us. If that isn’t a caring, understanding, respectful person then I don’t know what is.

I feel privileged.

Privileged to have watched Maxwell play.

Privileged to have seen his premiership success and leadership.

Privileged to have shaken his hand, sat down and interviewed him.

Privileged to have written this piece and most importantly privileged to have always respected him.

The current Collingwood Premiership Captain. Source: Scott Barbour

The current Collingwood Premiership Captain.
Source: Scott Barbour

Thankyou for wearing the black and white with pride Maxy. Your leadership and passion has been incredible and as a Collingwood premiership captain you will never be forgotten.

Go Pies! Danielle Eid

About Danielle Eid

Im 23, cute and most importantly im the Collingwood Football Club's very own PRINCESS!! :) A Latrobe Uni graduate from Bachelor of Journalism. Admirer of Samantha Lane and Jon Ralph. Not your typical 'Robot Journalist' Loves Alex Fasolo


  1. A dud. Struggled to kick over a jam tin.
    Collingwood now has space for a really good player on their list. He is the player who “two grabbed” the most marks in AFL history – mostly when 20 metres clear on his own!

  2. Lovely personal tribute Danielle. Hawthorn supporter here with Pie loving partner. Who could forget that towering mark over Nick Reiwoldt in the 2010 GF? Maxy was a leader who shaped that backline to defend. Good luck with your writing.
    cheers, Michael

  3. Danielle

    Will admit, as a Richmond fan, that I like Maxwell. Seems honest, aware of what skills he has and doesn’t have, clearly respected at the Pies, being awarded the captaincy above bigger names.

    Like our Chris Newman, captaincy is about example on and off the field, so credit to him.

    Best player? Nope. In best 10-15 at the Pies for skills? Probably not. Run his race? Yup.

    He gets the last laugh though, not many blokes get to be a Premiership captain


  4. Has he officially retired yet Dani? I keep hearing rumours but nothing offical yet…..

  5. MGLFerguson says

    I am not a fan of the Collingwood Football Club. I AM a fan of Nick Maxwell, who has seemed to me to exemplify professionalism, and is the exemplar of the highest quality of an athlete: getting the absolute most out of the (somewhat limited) athletic talent he was born with. I fully expect that whatever he does next in his life, in football or out, he will be very good at.

  6. Steve Fahey says

    Good on you Danielle, well done. It has been a very ordinary week for the black and white and this is a fine tribute.

    Duds rarely become All-Australians (and be premiership captain in the same year).
    To me he was a good ordinary player who had two stellar years, played with enormous heart and smarts for his whole career and was an outstanding leader.

    Anyone who still holds a contrary view re his playing heights ought watch the drawn GF in 2010 – his effort in saving a Riewoldt dribbler on the goal line and then the mark and running attack which led to the goal that put us back in front late in the last quarter were both top-shelf stuff. And while you are at it, see if you can find the 2003 VFL GF when, playing for the then Pies-aligned Williamstown, a very young and skinny Maxy went where most wouldn’t, got absolutely pole-axed and got up, albeit a little gingerly, and continued the game, with his teammates walking a little bit taller, not for the last time.

    Off the field he joined schoolmate Jimmy Bartel and other schoolmates in establishing the Michael Carmody Foundation for underprivileged children at the former schools of a mate who was killed in an accident in 2007. In recent years he has also organised high-profile Pies speakers (including himself) and a venue for a season launch lunch for his old school club St Josephs Football and Netball Club in Geelong.

    Equally importantly there are many stories about him being incredibly generous with his time and decent with fans, similar to Danielle’s experience. My daughter was a frequent attendee at training when school commitments permitted. She reported that Maxy would always greet her and her mate with a hello and a smile, as did a few others.

    He will be remembered as a bloke who got everything he could out of what he had and was a fierce competitor. Well played Skip (a name he kept for many of us this year even after Pendles took the captaincy), thanks for being a magnificent contributor to the club and may life be good to you.

  7. matt watson says

    I admire Nick Maxwell and enjoyed your story.
    Maxwell lived up to the Tom Hafey adage that you don’t have to be the best player, just play at your best.
    I’m not sure why Maxwell was targeted for intense scrutiny and unfair criticism, but it probably has something to do with Collingwood.
    As I remember, the hate really began after the 2010 premiership and peaked when Matthew Scarlett said Maxwell was over-rated.
    That is absolute rubbish – he wasn’t over-rated. He just played for Collingwood.
    He led by example too. Solid footballer. Never tried to be the best at the club, just the best at his role.

  8. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I don’t barrack for , Collingwood but really rate Nick Maxwell he is extremely highly regarded with in the footy industry and I don’t understand the bagging he receives there is 1 area of the game he is ELITE in where no one can argue in http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/leadership-matters/#comments !

  9. The People's Elbow says

    …you probably don’t want to listen to this week’s podcast.

    The valedictory for the former All-Australian loose man in defense was less than generous.

  10. Luke Reynolds says

    Wonderful tribute Dani. Maxi will be very much missed, fantastic leader whether he was the captain or not. Thought his 2013 season was as good as any (including 2010 & 11), was playing good footy this year, and could have gone on. Our team will be much the worse for his absence.

  11. Cheryl Critchley says

    Great tribute Danni. Our footy heroes give us so much joy in a world where negative news sells. It’s always a sad day when the good ones hang up their boots.

  12. Danielle says

    Shotgun: as indicated in my piece, get in line.

    Michael G: Thanks. Its good to see other fans who understand the way Maxwell had an influence.

    Sean: The lone fact that he is a premiership captain is a big ‘up yours’ to every single person that doubted and mocked him. Love it.

    John: Collingwood live streamed the announced at 2:30. Very emotional.

    MGLFerguson: very true Maxy himself was never to afraid that he wasn’t the best but he always did his role to the best of his ability and that shows real professionalism.

    Steve: Thanks, its such a sad day for us all. Holly just contacted me to let me know she loved this piece. Not many players make time for their supporters like Macy did and that really proved him to be the ‘people’s captain.’

    Thanks Matt.
    Exactly right. When asked how he knew it was his time to retire he said.
    “if I can’t do something 100% then I can’t do it”
    And that’s exactly how he played.

    Malcolm again its always refreshing to see that other supporters do actually understand Maxwell’s ability.

    The people’s elbow may join the line with behind Shotgun loo

    Cheers Luke!
    When he wasn’t leader of the team he was always leader of the backline! I worry for our young defence….

    Thanks Cheryl. It really is. I actually feel very empty…
    Collingwood has lost a very valuable man today.

  13. Dave Nadel says

    Great tribute Danni. You would speak for most of us in the Collingwood community. Quite apart from Maxy’s fine leadership, his critics missed the point that the players one most admires are those who play above their natural ability and Maxy did that for over a decade.

    I have no idea what Nick plans to do in the future, whether it be coaching, player management or some other business venture. You can be confident that he will do it well.

    Collingwood have won four premierships in my lifetime and only two since I finished primary school. That makes Maxwell as a Collingwood Premiership captain a person of great significance in my life. Thank you Nick for 2010 and everything else you did for Collingwood

  14. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great stuff Danni. Nick got the best out of himself for over 200 games and Captained Collingwood to a Flag. What more could we ask? Now who will wear the hallowed number 5 next year?

  15. Danielle says

    Thanks Dave. Maxy said they wouldn’t be able to get rid of hum so easy so I think he will be hanging around the club here and there. Hope our young defence soak up his advice like a sponge!

    Cheers Phil!
    I definitely couldn’t ask any more of him. He gave us his all and thankgod that included a flag :))
    Hmmm….found it weird when seeing a #5 in defence after Bucks wore it in the midfield, but now it would be weird seeing it any where else!
    Elliott possibly?

  16. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    On talent I’d give it to Elliot, but I look at that list and I don’t see many leaders. Might take a couple of years before we are genuine challengers again.

  17. Danielle says

    Deffers on talent Phil…but and I may be wrong but he comes off as a quiet guy. Nothing wrong with that bc look at presti bit the new #5 needs to have a strong voice.

  18. Terrific tribute to a great leader and clubman. Thanks Dani.
    After reading your piece today, I thought about the Glass/Maxwell comparison. Darren Glass was a much more complete player, but Maxwell was a better leader and teacher. Glass led by example but seemed a minimal communicator. Maxwell seems to have the footy brain to make a great coach, and he could communicate that to his comrades on and off the field.

  19. Danielle Eid says

    Peter, you are absolutely correct about his footy brain. He’s been tipped as the next Collingwood CEO lol but first id love to see him in the coaching staff as I’m positive our defence will be lost without him.

  20. Great piece Danielle.

    Nick is a great leader of men. Pure & simple.

    Nick is a Collingwood premiership captain.

    Nick was an All-Australian.

    Nick was way better than the knockers think but not as good as the best…..and most of us can live with that.

    Nick never cruised around like some highly rated No 1 draft picks but worked hard instead, refused to give in, got the most out of his abilities and proved his knockers wrong… time and and again.

    Nick can take his place in footy history……most of his detractors will not.

    Congrats Nick on a super career.

    Let the knockers have their say. Most of them only watched him a few times during the year….we athed him game fater game.

    He (and we) don’t need to pump him up as he has achived what so many are incapable of…..captaining a side t

  21. Nick Maxwell was the Mike Brearley of the AFL. Great captain and leader, average player. Just what they needed.

  22. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I like the analogy , Budge but Maxwell a far better player than Brearley lets not forget he was in all aust form this season before hurting his calf . As a non pies man
    Maxwell huge tick for courage , leadership obviously , there was a while in 2011 and 12 he struggled standing certain players who out bodied him or pure pace he struggled with and it was with the evolution of footy re the plus 1 and the pies struggled with this and how to use , Maxwell properly , let’s not forget he had a very good record standing and in general beating players in his 1st 100 games
    In general a very good decision maker , he was not elite but a bloody good player

  23. That’s right Bakes!

    Love a little debate, Maxy owned that ‘loose man in defence role’
    I have no knowledge of this Mike B fellow so I’m going to take Malcolm’s side haha

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