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'In hindsight I should have stopped': Cox apologises over pre-match Giants coach altercation after AFL's 'please explain'

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11th March, 2024
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Collingwood big man Mason Cox has issued an apology to GWS and ruck coach Shane Mumford, after a bizarre incident before the Magpies’ Saturday night loss.

In another chapter to the growing rivalry between the two clubs, Cox brazenly ran into the Giants’ warm-up area during a ball-up drill.

The Magpies premiership ruckman pushed an unaware Mumford from behind, before jumping up and running away with the ball.

Mumford – one of the AFL’s most imposing ruckmen during his career that ended in 2021 – and Giants players such as Stephen Coniglio and Callan Ward looked on in bemusement at Cox’s antics.

The AFL issued a ‘please explain’ to Collingwood over Cox’s actions on Sunday, with the Magpies and Cox explaining how the incident came about.

“We have reviewed the situation and it is clear it was a period of transition in the centre circle – our rucks were completing their centre bounce practice as the GWS midfield arrived to commence their centre-circle work,” Magpies football general manager Brendon Bolton said in a statement.

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“Mason has acknowledged that making contact with opposition officials or players pre-game should be avoided and with our Club’s support, will be more aware in future.”

Cox also issued an apology for the altercation.

“In the moment, I was solely focussed on getting one more bounce in – in hindsight, I should have stopped my run-up rather than completing the drill,” he said in a statement.

Giants forward Brent Daniels didn’t know about the incident until watching a replay after the Giants’ 32-point win on Saturday night, but took full aim at the American.

“Mason likes to say things that get a bit of a headline,” Daniels told the Nine Network on Sunday.

“He likes the limelight, but what he did before the game I thought was really bizarre. A bit of carry on. 

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“I’d like to think we’re really humble and hungry as a team. 

“To see that wasn’t a good look.”

Cox was already public enemy No.1 with the Giants after describing their home ground as “a showground for livestock” when the AFL announced it would be starting the 2024 season with four games in NSW and Queensland.

The Giants social media team and Cox traded barbs all summer in the lead-up to the match.

GWS even set-up a petting zoo at Engie Stadium, formerly Giants Stadium, and named it after Cox.

The Giants had the last laugh when Cox failed to register a disposal in the first half and finished with just five possessions for the match.

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“If you’re going to do that you’d want to back it up on the field,” said Daniels, who starred with four goals.

“His comments grab media and that’s what he wants. We know we’re a small base but we love our Giants fans and last night was really special. 

“‘Mummy’ (Mumford) doesn’t usually hold back so luckily he did this time.”

In a now-deleted post on his Instagram on Sunday, Cox said there had been “lots of false commentary” surrounding the incident.

“Will explain what actually happened on this weeks (sic) podcast,” Cox wrote.

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© AAP

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