Donna Maynard on Mums with Mics. Picture: AFL Digital

DONNA Maynard has opened up on the difficulty of watching her son, Collingwood defender Brayden, become the target of widespread criticism after his smother in last year's finals series left Melbourne opponent Angus Brayshaw concussed

Maynard was eventually cleared of wrongdoing by the AFL Tribunal and went on to play in Collingwood's premiership. Brayshaw, a 2021 premiership player for the Demons, was forced to retire on medical grounds in February having suffered several concussions in his career.

Donna told's Mums with Mics podcast that she wasn't able to watch the game live as she was on a flight to Los Angeles for work. 


"Finally the plane lands and all the messages start coming through. Yeah, they've won! And then the realist - the husband - said 'Just give me a ring when you can. Our boy could be in strife'," she recalled. 

"How did we deal with it? The fact that I was away... all my closest friends said 'It's best that you're away' because the media at the time was horrific. But the media still now is not great. 

"Brayden was fantastic, he just didn't have his phone. He had to get rid of his phone and not watch any media but it's pretty hurtful stuff... because it's a footy act. No one intentionally goes out to do anything like that and if they did, they shouldn't be playing footy. It is a contact sport and sadly, stuff does happen.

"I think the fact that a career ended, to be pinpointed on my son, breaks my heart, because it's not the case."


Join hosts Tracey McKay (mum of Carlton's Harry and Essendon's Ben) and Jackie De Koning (mum of Carlton's Tom and Geelong's Sam) for Mums with Mics, where they share their insights into life growing up with promising young footballers who have turned into star AFL players, as well as talking with fellow mothers of AFL players who generously share their tales of footy, life and laughter. 

From the glamour of the Brownlow and Grand Final day, to the heartbreak of injury and retirement, and everything in between - including lost footy boots and emergency hospital trips - Mums with Mics shines a light on a family side of footy that you've never seen before. 

In this week's episode: 

  • Donna Maynard on her family's sporting history, from husband Peter to sons Corey and Brayden
  • The baby drama that threatened to overshadow Grand Final day
  • How the Pies' psychologist has helped Brayden with his OCD diagnosis
  • The 'hurtful' criticism after the Brayshaw incident, and what Brayden's really like

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