I was probably one of the only people to like Max in his first 12 months at the club.
We knew each other a little bit before arriving at Melbourne from our under-18 days.
We were meant to play Metro but unfortunately Max tore his ACL and couldn’t play.
On the night of the AFL draft I was attending my school graduation and Max rang me and left a voicemail saying, ‘answer your phone you idiot, we’re going to the Dees together! You beauty!’
Max and I understood each other straight away.
We’re both more than willing to give it to other people but we’re also pretty happy to take our share of banter as well.
In our under-18 year at draft camp, Max had torn his ACL and so he wasn’t able to complete the physical testing.
Aside from a few interviews he basically went up there and had a three-day holiday courtesy of the AFL.
He spent his time in the spa, potting everyone as they were doing the beep test and 3km time-trial.
That’s just Max’s way.
When he rocked up to the footy club on his first day he didn’t know too many people.
Max’s standards weren’t overly high — he would rock up late and wasn’t able to train because of his knee.
I think the fact that this young kid who had come in and was willing to pot people from the get-go despite not doing much himself didn’t go down too well.
Max is happy to take the mickey out of himself and enjoy himself but it took a few people a while to truly understand him.
Despite being a bit of a larrikin, one thing Max has always done is work hard.
He has a really strong work ethic and thirst to prove himself.
It was almost a thirst to prove that he wasn’t only there because he was so tall but because he would actually contribute.
Growth, which for him has been quite literal, is the perfect term to describe how far he has come as a person.
It took him a while to adjust to life in the AFL system but now his life is completely sorted.
He’s become one of the best, if not the best, players in the AFL.
Max is a great leader, he’s bloody dedicated, his diet is immaculate and he trains hard in the off-season.
It’s come as no surprise to me to see how much of an incredible player he’s become.
He always did have that ability and the confidence in himself to become a good player.
Max has sorted his life off the field as well.
He’s engaged to his lovely partner Jess, who happens to be the sister of James Frawley’s wife, which certainly makes for a nice dynamic at Christmas time.
It’s funny how things work out.
One of Max’s quirks, and it is a bit disgusting, is that he has a fascination with sending Snapchats every time his toenail falls off.
We have a Monday night dinner crew, which started when we were still at Melbourne of Max, Lynden Dunn, James Frawley, Dean Kent, James Harmes and myself.
Our group can be sure that anytime Max Snapchats us, it’s of his toe.
As I’m sure you can imagine it’s a pretty disgusting sight but he’s obsessed with sending it and can’t help himself.
One thing that stands out about Max is the fact his public persona is exactly what he is like as a person and it’s why the public took to him straight away.
He’s tall, he’s got the beard and he isn’t afraid to stand out.
Max doesn’t take things too seriously and people enjoy that light-hearted side to him.
It might have been that’s how things got off on the wrong foot for him at Melbourne but Max has never strayed from being true to himself.
He’s fiercely competitive and it shows when he plays footy.
People relate to Max because he’s a normal guy who enjoys a good time and happens to be really good at football.