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'Ox' rewarded for patience with mentor Maxwell

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 08: Adam Oxley of the Magpies in action during the 2015 AFL round ten match between the Melbourne Demons and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground Melbourne on June 8, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Adam Oxley played the best game of his career on Monday, collecting 14 marks

ADAM Oxley had a significant mentor when learning the defensive craft at Collingwood, with premiership captain Nick Maxwell taking him under his wing during his first two seasons at the club.

There were elements in Oxley's near best-afield performance against Melbourne on the Queen's Birthday that reminded Magpies fans of Maxwell in his heyday.

Deployed as a loose man in defence for the majority of the contest against the Demons, Oxley gathered a team-high 30 disposals and 14 marks.

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The 22-year-old also had a round-high eight intercept marks in the Magpies' 25-point win.

"I did a lot of work with Nick Maxwell the first two years I was here and he was telling me how important it was to take those marks in front of the opposition team's forwards," Oxley told AFL.com.au.

"I pride myself on my aerial power and I've been working on it a fair bit at training jumping into the bag and coming off my man."

Magpies coach Nathan Buckley described Oxley's role as "imperative" to the result, with the coaching panel sending a message out at the end of the second term as the Demons slammed on six goals in 16 minutes.

"It was important for us to have that extra body behind the ball at stoppages and I think we showed enough composure to be able to use it from that point," Buckley said.

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Oxley, pick No.35 in the 2013 rookie draft, has gone from strength to strength in 2015, bouncing back from a broken ankle that wiped away almost his entire 2014 season.

The Magpies had Oxley earmarked to take the departing Heath Shaw's rebound role in defence before disaster struck in the club's first intra-club practice match in February 2014.

Buckley said Oxley was only scratching the surface with what he had produced this season.

The Magpies defender has averaged almost 19 disposals per game in 2015, while he ranks equal 45th in the competition for intercept marks.

"He's an intelligent footballer," Buckley said.

"His development has been stunted in some shape or form because of that (ankle injury), but it's been really encouraging to see him up and it's been good to be able to utilise his skills."

Oxley said he was well prepared to play the 'plus-one' role having spent a portion of his time in the VFL in 2013 filling that position.

Oxley said playing in that role boils down to communication and a sense of connection with his Magpies teammates.

"I had the confidence in them (teammates) to hold their man out and once I've got my confidence up flying for the ball, I know I'm going to take more than I'm going to drop," Oxley said.