AAP AFL

Magpies’ leaders helping AFL finals charge

By AAP Newswire

Being an AFL leader means learning to handle all sorts of personalities - even the ones who proudly confess to having "white-line fever" like Collingwood's Brayden Maynard.

And Maynard reckons the continued development of coach Nathan Buckley and particularly skipper Scott Pendlebury has played an important role in the Magpies' return to premiership contention after a year from hell in 2017.

The similarities between Buckley and Pendlebury are obvious. Both are known as high-achieving perfectionists whose ultra-professional style could be overbearing at times.

But Collingwood players have marvelled at the way Buckley has loosened up and brought fun back to the club after almost being sacked last year.

And Maynard - a young gun renowned for his fiery on-field temperament - says Pendlebury has also grown as a leader.

"I feel like captains and coaches, but especially captains, need to adapt to everyone's personalities because everyone's not the same ... you've got to understand what everyone's about and what individuals like and don't like," Maynard told AAP.

"I think that's what (Pendlebury) and Bucks have really learnt a lot. I reckon they've gotten around to everyone and the relationships between everyone has been probably the biggest difference.

"We care for one another and nothing else matters."

While keen to eventually lock down a midfield role, Maynard has flourished as a rebounding defender and barely missed a game over the past three seasons.

The 21-year-old appears all but certain to line up on GWS firebrand Toby Greene during Saturday night's semi-final at the MCG in what looms as a highly-entertaining contest.

"Probably before the bounce, every game, he's trying to fight someone or do something," Magpies wingman James Aish said of Maynard.

"He hates losing anything and he's aggressive, so he'll be a great matchup."

A grinning Maynard said he hoped the pair could put on a show.

"It's definitely white-line fever," he said.

"Off the field, I'm the complete opposite. It's just when I step over that white line I turn into a different person.

"I think that's what the boys really like about me, that I leave everything on the field."