Brayden Maynard has opened up about his side of the drama-charged AFL tribunal hearing that dominated this finals series, saying he did not know what to think.
The Collingwood defender has credited long-time sports psychologist Jacqui Louder with helping him through the saga, adding the extra week off was a massive help.
Maynard is also “pissed off” with media commentary around his visit to Melbourne midfielder Angus Brayshaw, saying it was done out of genuine concern for a friend.
He credits meditation, cold water therapy and yoga with helping slow down his mind, adding the adrenaline was “crazy” when the tribunal returned a not-guilty verdict.
Maynard was solid on GWS captain Toby Greene in Friday night’s epic one-point preliminary final win at the MCG, putting the Magpies into the grand final against Brisbane.
The week before, the tribunal had found Maynard not guilty of rough conduct against Brayshaw after a marathon three-hour hearing.
It was a particularly high-profile case because Brayshaw, who has a history of head knocks, had been concussed by Maynard as the Magpies defender jumped in the air to block the ball.
A guilty verdict also would have wiped out the rest of Maynard’s finals series.
“It was pretty crazy, my mind was completely on what had been happening. Luckily, we had the week off – that helped a lot,” Maynard told AAP.
“But that whole week was really, really challenging. It was probably the only thing I thought about.
“I tried to stay off social media, which I was really good at. I stayed off the news, but just thinking about the ‘what-ifs’, if I do miss a prelim, if I do potentially miss a grand final.
“That really was hurting me deep and I didn’t know what to think, to handle it. I had a lot of conversations with Jacqui and she helped me a lot.”
Maynard is “massive” on meditation and he said that, along with cold-water therapy and yoga, were considerable help as he awaited his tribunal fate.
“She (Jacqui) made me feel a lot more confident and comfortable and I was able to get through it. When it was dismissed, I was emotional, the adrenaline was crazy, but I was just so happy … it seemed like it was the only thing spoken about,” he said.
It also emerged that Maynard had visited Brayshaw and his fiance Danielle Frawley at their home soon after the qualifying final, prompting media commentary.
“It actually pisses me off, because some of the comments made by a few journos – and they know who they are – they weren’t actually there, they don’t know what happened,” he said.
“It did annoy me quite a lot, because I was just doing it from the bottom of my heart.
“I have a really good relationship with Danielle and Angus and for me to go over there, I wanted to do that, I wanted to show my care for him, throw my arms around him.
“For people to come out and have their say on it … I think they need to be held accountable for some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths, because it adds fuel to the fire when it doesn’t need to be done.”
Maynard was grateful that Melbourne captain Max Gawn also spoke in the media about the visit and gave a more nuanced perspective.
‘I knew the right story and Max Gawn spoke about it – that was that,” he said.
The roar of support from the Magpie army was notable when Maynard had his first possession in Friday night’s final.
“I actually did hear it … it was good to know that everyone is behind me, but it was pretty loud,” he said.
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