Former Collingwood premiership captain Nick Maxwell has announced he will retire from AFL football effective immediately.
The 2009 All-Australian has succumbed to an ankle injury suffered during his side’s 64-point loss to Essendon on Sunday.
Maxwell had a great start to the year before a calf injury forced him to sit out until last week. He had scans early in the week and sought a second opinion from a specialist early Wednesday morning.
Tributes were glowing for the man known as Maxxy, with president Eddie McGuire saying, “there was no surprise that at the time, outgoing captain Nathan Buckley hand picked Maxwell to take over as captain when Buckley retired.”
Maxwell was not the most gifted player but made the most out of his talents and probably exceeded the expectations of many. Coach Nathan Buckley described him as a player who “succeeded against all the odds” saying that the club legend’s greatest value was the “care for his team-mates”.
After the injury on Sunday, the club doctor informed Maxwell that it was most likely an eight to 10 week injury. Maxwell said that he was “almost relieved” at the length of the injury, saying it “took the decision out of his hands”.
Maxwell said that he would miss coming in every day and gave a heart-felt thank you to all current and former players. His outgoing message to the current playing list was a typical demand from Nick Maxwell insisting they do everything they can to give themselves the best opportunity to succeed.
Often maligned by opposition fans, Maxwell played a massive part in Collingwood’s 2010 premiership. Eddie McGuire made mention of the dive that allowed him to touch a Nick Riewoldt dribbler in the 2010 drawn grand final saying Maxwell’s heroics saved the day.
Maxwell will now work in the business field for two years before he returns to work in an executive role with Collingwood Football Club. When asked why he wouldn’t slip into the seemingly natural fit of coaching, Maxwell said he couldn’t commit to the high amount of hours it would take and he wouldn’t do anything half-hearted.
Maxwell played the game with courage, heart and passion. He played 208 games with 104 of those as captain. He will be remembered as a player who got the absolute most out of his career and one of the most natural leaders to play the game. – Jake Benoiton
Top photo from Alpha’s Flickr photostream.