Collingwood AFL player Nick Maxwell has retired after a 208-game career.
Nick Maxwell, they said you’d never make it.
Maxwell bowed to injury on Wednesday, announcing his retirement after 208 AFL games.
A season-ending ankle injury convinced the self-confessed battler that it was all over.
Maxwell captained the Magpies from 2009 to 2013, including the 2010 premiership. He played 10 games in 2014.
Even if he says so himself, he gave it everything and now has nothing left.
“I’ve just tried to do the best with what I’ve got,” the former Geelong Falcons Under-18 player told a media conference.
“My job was to get in the face of opposition and try to be as hard as I could in every contest.
“That was my niche and that’s what I tried to do.”
Skipper Scott Pendlebury and coach Nathan Buckley described Maxwell as a selfless leader who was constantly motivated to help his teammates and make them better players.
“I could never control how people would judge me as a player,” Maxwell said.
“But I could always control how I prepared to play.”
Taken in the rookie draft of 2003, Maxwell made his debut the following year.
In 2009 he was named in the All-Australian side, an honour reserved for the elite.
“It was a battle, but I loved the battles and I loved having to prove people wrong and I loved having to fight against the odds,” Maxwell said.
“Unfortunately after my ankle injury on Sunday, I found out that I was probably looking at about 10 weeks’ recovery which was going to be the season.
“Knowing what was involved, I just knew I had nothing left.
“I feel like I’ve given everything I could, every training session and every game, and unfortunately my body, it had enough so that’s it.”
Maxwell thanked the club’s supporters who knew his flaws, but also recognised he’d do anything he could to help the team.
“I certainly didn’t believe I could play at this level, a lot of the time,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell said early in his career he was motivated by those who doubted him.
“Just wanting to prove people wrong and make a difference and make a career out of AFL footy,” he said.
But his focus soon shifted to repaying those who had faith in him, like his coaches Mick Malthouse and Buckley.
“Far too often people want to talk about potentially what he doesn’t have in a football-talent sense,” Buckley said.
“But that’s a small part of what footy actually is.
“It’s the character that you carry. It’s the commitment that you’ve got to your team and your teammates.
“He was told he wasn’t going to make it.
“He didn’t listen to the people who told him that.”
Maxwell said he wasn’t keen on a coaching career. Club president Eddie McGuire suggested Maxwell was a potential chief executive at Collingwood.
THE NICK MAXWELL STORY
* Age: 31
* Height: 193cm
* Weight: 93kg
* Recruited from: St Joseph’s Geelong, Geelong Falcons U-18
* Debut: 2004
* Games played: 208
* Goals: 29
* Games in 2014: 10
* Premiership captain in 2010
* All-Australian in 2009
* Captain 2009-2013
* Finals: 18
* Grand finals: 3