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Maxwell draws the curtain

Watch 2010 premiership captain Nick Maxwell announce his retirement to his Collingwood teammates. Watch the full speech on next week's episode of The Club on Fox Footy. Watch 2010 premiership captain Nick Maxwell announce his retirement to his Collingwood teammates.
Nick Maxwell sends Collingwood into attack during his final game against Essendon on Sunday.
The career of Nick Maxwell, one of the most inspirational figures in the modern history of Collingwood, has drawn to a close.

An ankle injury suffered in last Sunday’s match against Essendon at the MCG brought a premature end to Maxwell’s time in black and white, at least as a player.

The injury may require surgery and is expected to sideline the rookie-made-good for the remainder of the season. His decision to retire, with immediate effect, was announced today.

Maxwell’s rise from AFL reject to premiership captain and All-Australian defender is a remarkable story of persistence, single minded dedication, selflessness and, ultimately, success.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has described Maxwell as a “living club treasure” and one of the “greatest Collingwood people of all time”.

“‘Maxy’ personified Side by Side,” McGuire said.

“He brought to life the notions of sacrifice and commitment. He made them real, for team-mates and fans alike. You couldn’t pay a higher compliment to a Collingwood player who is prepared to leave his man to help out a team-mate or sacrifice his own game for the cause than to describe him as ‘Maxwell-like’.

“From humble beginnings as a player he led Collingwood all the way to a premiership. We will never be able to thank him enough.”

Maxwell’s injury offered no prospect of a return this season and confirmed in his mind that his body, after 14 years and 208 matches, could take no more.

“As I said to the boys, I’ve got nothing left,” Maxwell said.

“I suppose, that’s a good way to go out. Knowing that there was nothing more I could have done or given.

“I didn’t know that I would play one game, and for a time it looked as if I wouldn’t, so to look back now and know that I shared in something so special...I have no regrets.

“It would have been nice to play out the season but if I look at the big picture, I can’t complain. I’m completely content to have played for so long, made so many friends, met so many fans and enjoyed so many rich experiences. Playing for Collingwood changed my life.”

Maxwell was recruited to Collingwood via the rookie draft in 2003, after being overlooked on several occasions by a number of clubs, and promoted to the senior list the following year.

He became one of the most distinguished rookies of all time. Apart from becoming Collingwood’s 45th captain and leading the team to the 2010 flag, Maxwell won All-Australian selection in 2009 and the R.T. Rush Trophy as best and fairest runner-up the same year. He finished fifth in the Copeland Trophy count in 2012 and has a shelf of best clubman awards.

Maxwell captained the club from 2009-2013, a period in which Collingwood finished fourth, first, second, fourth and eighth.

His ascension to the captaincy and this personal and collective vein of form were not unrelated.

With the responsibilities of leadership upon his shoulders, both club and captain grew. Collingwood rose to a great height and Maxwell was voted best finals player in 2009 and 2010.

Maxwell relinquished the captaincy to Scott Pendlebury at the beginning of the current campaign but remained by the new skipper’s side as a senior member of the leadership group. He will remain with the club next year to prepare for a future role in management.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley played with Maxwell and, when the two were team-mates, urged him to consider a future as a leader and, possibly, captain.

“It was obvious quite early in ‘Maxy’s’ his career that he carried in him a lot of the virtues that we hold dear as a club - excellence, discipline, relentlessness, community and remaining side by side,” Buckley said.

“Every one of his team-mates, past and present, would have a story about how ‘Maxy’ helped them in some way, of how he gave everything he had and inspired them to do the same. And the fans saw it in his play on match day, too.

“It’s easy to love a bloke like that.”

Maxwell by the numbers
Matches: 208
Goals: 29 goals
Premiership: 2010
Finals: 18
Grand finals: 3
Captain: 2009-2013
All-Australian: 2009
R.T. Rush Trophy: 2009