Brayden Maynard knows his premiership dreams currently hang in the balance.
The Collingwood defender faces the prospect of having his premiership dreams entirely wiped out on Friday for the bump which flattened Demon Angus Brayshaw on Thursday night.
If it is deemed rough conduct under the AFL’s guidelines, it is a three-game ban. September over.
But in one of the AFL’s biggest match review calls in years, the league must also consider whether Maynard’s attempted smother-gone-wrong was a simple football accident.
If Maynard’s actions were deemed reasonable in the circumstances he will be free to play in the preliminary final in a fortnight as part of a decision which will spark outrage either way.
And there is no middle ground on this one. It’s either three matches or nothing. He gets off.
The incident, if deemed rough conduct, has to be graded severe impact and high contact, as Brayshaw’s night was over, meaning it goes straight to the tribunal.
Even worse, Brayshaw’s whole finals campaign could be gone because of his nightmare concussion history. You feel devastated for him.
Simon Goodwin was far from happy in the press conference. In fact, he seemed angry. The Demons want justice for Brayshaw.
Maynard and Brayshaw have known each other since their under-18 days at Hampton Rovers. They will be texting each other already.
Match review officer Michael Christian will pour over the footage for hours this morning to determine a view to recommend to incoming AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon.
Christian will ask himself, what was Maynard expected to do in that situation?
He went for the smother, missed the footy, and rotated his shoulder on the way down as he braced for contact with Brayshaw.
It was a split-second decision which could cost him a Grand Final berth.
Geelong champion and GWS Giants director Jimmy Bartel said Maynard should be charged with rough conduct and sent straight to the tribunal.
Collingwood will challenge that verdict as hard as it could in the same way GWS Giants got Toby Bedford off the hook on Thursday.
“The best result would be to send it to the tribunal,” Bartel said on 3AW.
“Careless, high contact and severe because he was stretchered off.
“The AFL can make their case, Collingwood can make their case and Maynard can get up and explain exactly what happened.”
Originally published as AFL Finals 2023: All the latest from the MRO as Brayden Maynard awaits decision for Angus Brayshaw bump