Mason Cox was ruthlessly denied winning the inaugural Neale Daniher Trophy after the “laughable” call from the voting panel.
Collingwood tall forward Mason Cox was ruthlessly denied winning the inaugural Neale Daniher trophy after the “laughable” call of the voting panel following the Queen’s birthday showdown at the MCG.
Cox came to life in the third quarter of the 13th-round showdown on Monday night, having missed two marks in the first quarter and missed two set pieces in the second.
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The 31-year-old kicked off his purple spot with an unlikely goal in the run of just 50 before stealing two defensive interception marks from 50 soon after.
To top it off, he threw a handball in front of Jamie Elliott, who kicked another Collingwood goal.
Cox ended the day with 21 eliminations, eight marks and six appearances in one of his best games in a long time.
The American had never hit the 20 mark in his AFL career before Collingwood’s 10.12 (82) to 8.8 (56) win.
“It’s fantastic to see,” Magpies teammate Jack Crisp said of Cox’s performance.
“I think our team plays a lot better with him… he can take the mark very high, he’s going down and doing very well.
“He kicked a goal running, last week he was chasing the guys and attacking.
“He’s really doing things that a big guy his height shouldn’t be doing.
“We love what he’s bringing to the table.”
However, football pundits were baffled when Demons midfielder Clayton Oliver, who recorded 43 eliminations, was awarded the Neale Daniher Trophy for best on the ground.
A chorus of boos echoed through the venue as Oliver timidly accepted the award after Melbourne’s 26-point defeat.
“Obviously it’s a great honor to play in this game, what Neale is doing is an unbelievable job for MND. Thank you,” he said.
“Great honor to play the game, Collingwood very good today. Hats off to you.”
It was later revealed that former Essendon forward Matthew Lloyd and three-time Premiership player Cameron Ling had given Cox three points in the judges’ vote, but the American received nothing from reporter Josh Gabelich.
Collingwood head coach Craig McRae praised Cox’s continued improvement at the post-game press conference.
“It’s no secret that we’ve come a long way and watching him grow too – he has a lot of doubts – he shows he can play at the level and confidence at his best,” he said.
“You can watch him grow. He just keeps getting taller.
“I believe Mason is a better striker than striker. We’ve been playing with him a little bit more off the bench and he’s going a little bit forward – and I think that’s his best position.
“I think the game is so fast now and you have to be more on the ground than in the air and for him to get the ball down is important to us but then you see him buying tackle and last week chasing down guys .
“I think he really bought into what we’re trying to be.”
Speaking to Channel 7 after the match, Cox credited the increased time in the ruck for his confidence boost.
“Now playing a little more ruck, you have a little more opportunity to get your hands in the middle, so you gain a little more confidence,” he said.
“Sometimes in that line of attack you can get stuck alone and not see the ball for a while and then you just have to take every opportunity.
“But being in the middle now opens up a little more opportunity for me.”
Collingwood is going to say goodbye next weekend.
– with Marc McGowan, NCA NewsWire
Originally published as Collingwood high winger Mason Cox denied Neale Daniher Trophy for ‘laughable’ call from voting panel