When Collingwood premiership captain Nick Maxwell hung up the boots at season’s end, nobody was quite sure what he’d do next.
His renowned leadership qualities led many to think the coaching path might be for him – but Maxwell seemed equally capable of launching into a successful media career, having spent plenty of time providing insights to the likes of SEN’s The Run Home and Channel 7’s AFL Game Day throughout his career. Those at Collingwood clearly believe there’s no limit as to what Maxwell will achieve next.
When Maxwell announced his retirement, Collingwood CEO Gary Pert told the Herald Sun, “we want him to be CEO of the Collingwood footy club one day, and there is no doubt he’s got the potential to do that.”
“Craig Bellamy gave me a bell in mid-August and went through what they wanted me to do and asked if I’d be interested in coming on” – Nick Maxwell
The direction Maxwell has chosen, in the short-term at least, is one that surprised many when he announced it last week. The 208-game Magpie defender has joined Melbourne Storm as a leadership development coach. Though it might seem like a decision from left-field, Maxwell told SEN’s The Run Home that it had been a while coming.
“I retired in July – injury forced me out and then Craig Bellamy gave me a bell in mid-August and went through what they wanted me to do and asked if I’d be interested in coming on,” Maxwell said.
“I spent a couple of days in there observing and making sure there was something I thought I could actually do. I went through a bit of work there and sat in on all the reviews when the season finished – it finished disappointingly for the Storm boys but we’ve sort of been in planning meetings ever since and their pre-season started for the young boys this week.”
Though he’s only been at the Storm in an official capacity for a short time, Maxwell’s relationships with some of the players stretch back to 2010.
“I contacted [Melbourne captain] Cam [Smith] after we drew the 2010 Grand Final. All the boys were pretty flat so I picked his brain and had a coffee and asked him about [how he coped] between Storm and [state of] Origin – sometimes they’ll play two or three days later. We just sort of chatted about how they get up and get going again.”
That conversation played a part in the Magpies’ victory the following Saturday – a win that meant Maxwell will forever be known as “Collingwood premiership Captain” Nick Maxwell. His chat with Smith came at a time when many at Collingwood were filled with doubt.
“Physically, when we had our bloods and all that taken, they were at record highs. I know the fitness staff and Dave Buttifant were pretty worried that we wouldn’t be able to get everybody up the next week,” Maxwell admitted.
“Emotionally you feel like you’ve let everyone down and missed an opportunity – so it was really about getting guys back [into the mindset that] we haven’t lost anything, it’s just been delayed.”
There’s a certain sense of symmetry in the fact Maxwell could play a role in the Storm’s next premiership; it’s a challenge he’s looking forward to tackling in 2015.
Maxwell’s interview with SEN’s The Run Home can be heard in full below.