Eddie McGuire savaged over 'embarrassing' response to Brayden Maynard verdict

The AFL tribunal found no wrongdoing in the incident that left Angus Brayshaw unconscious.

Eddie McGuire, pictured here overjoyed that Brayden Maynard got off at the AFL tribunal.
Eddie McGuire was overjoyed that Brayden Maynard got off at the AFL tribunal. Image: Getty/Dale Thomas

Eddie McGuire has copped a serve from radio host Jase Hawkins over his response to Brayden Maynard getting off at the AFL tribunal. Maynard is free to play in Collingwood's preliminary final in two weeks' time after the tribunal found his actions were 'reasonable' when he knocked out Angus Brayshaw last weekend.

The tribunal found no wrongdoing in Maynard's attempted smother, which resulted in him clattering into Brayshaw and knocking the Demons player out cold. The panel of Jeff Gleeson, Scott Stevens and Darren Gaspar found Maynard's actions were "reasonable" in the circumstances. Gleeson said: "He committed to the act of smothering when he was ... several metres from Brayshaw. We are not at all satisfied that a reasonable player would have foreseen that violent impact, or impact of the type suffered by Brayshaw, was inevitable or even likely."

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Collingwood's official Twitter account sent a message to Brayshaw while tweeting the news about Maynard on Tuesday night. "The AFL Tribunal has cleared Brayden Maynard and, as a result, he will be available for our preliminary final clash. Our thoughts remain with Angus Brayshaw and his family - we wish him a speedy and complete recovery," the club wrote.

But the gesture went down like a lead balloon with Demons fans, who questioned whether the Pies would have done the same thing if Maynard had've been suspended. Many pointed out that Collingwood fans have been giving it to Brayshaw all week, with many suggesting he shouldn't have been playing in the first place considering his history of concussions.

Reporter Sam Lane said of Collingwood's message: "Respectful touch here from Collingwood is a good and important one." However many disagreed, pointing out the fact that Collingwood's counsel Ben Ihle had effectively blamed Brayshaw for the collision. Ihle used colour strips on video stills to show how Brayshaw was the one who had ventured slightly into Maynard's path before they collided.

Reporter Tim Gossage described it as a "baseline response", while one fan commented: "To post this after they argued that the bump occurred because Gus moved in Maynard's way is embarrassing, not respectful."

A second fan wrote: "I doubt the Collingwood Football Club would be so gracious if Maynard had been suspended", while another said: "Five days late Sam. Be better if they discouraged their fans from harassing Brayshaw."

Eddie McGuire's response sparks backlash

The response of former Collingwood president McGuire also didn't sit particularly well with Melbourne supporters. Former Pies player Dale Thomas uploaded a video of McGuire celebrating in a restaurant after learning of the tribunal's decision.

“Ladies and gentlemen, justice has been done," McGuire exclaimed as he raised his wine glass. "Maynard is free to play for the Pies!"

While Collingwood fans loved the exuberance, some felt it was a poor look considering the doubts surrounding whether Brayshaw will ever play again. The 27-year-old won't play in the Demons' semi-final clash with Carlton this weekend due to concussion protocols, and is no certainty to be available if his side advance.

Speaking on KIIS 101.1 radio on Wednesday morning, Hawkins was fuming at McGuire's reaction. “Every time I talk to a Pies supporter, I’m like 'why does the club have such a bad name'," he said. "Eddie McGuire’s name comes up every time because of moves like this.

“Sit down. Justice has been done? There is a player now who has to sit a week out from concussion and his family is outraged because he may not ever play again and you’ve got [McGuire] sitting up in restaurants screaming stuff like that. That’s not the image the club wants.”

Brayshaw took an extended break from the AFL in 2017 after suffering four concussions in the space of 12 months, and has worn a helmet ever since. He was back at training on Tuesday and did some light running, but there are fears he might be forced into retirement after his latest sickening head knock.

Angus Brayshaw, pictured here after the hit from Brayden Maynard.
Angus Brayshaw was unconscious for a couple of minutes after the hit from Brayden Maynard. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

According to AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson, the Brayshaw family wanted Maynard suspended and are fuming about some high-profile figures defending him. “The Brayshaw camp want a suspension. There’s a few people close to Angus who believe that was a deliberate act by Maynard to hurt Angus Brayshaw,” Robinson said.

“So there’s another layer to the legal complexities, there’s the concussion debate overall … but the emotional layer is there’s a lot of angst. I wouldn’t say it’s outright anger, but there’s a lot of angst that a player can get knocked out for two minutes – which is very emotive … this is just a sport and they want justice.” The AFL revealed on Tuesday that it won't be appealing the decision.

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