Collingwood premiership winner Mason Cox is on the other side of the world — and still making headlines back in Australia.
The star ruckman is in Las Vegas for the blockbuster F1 Grand Prix racing on the streets of the party capital of the world this weekend.
The American hasn’t been phased by the attention he is receiving in Australia for his throw-away Twitter comments about the AFL 2024 season schedule.
It was GWS Giants CEO Dave Matthews that made the extraordinary move to come out and publicly criticise Cox after the Magpie appeared to hit a sore spot with a Twitter post surrounding the opening of the 2024 draw.
You can watch the inaugural F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Sunday, November 19 at 5pm LIVE & Ad-break free in racing – on Kayo Sports
This week the AFL announced season 2024 would begin with a new look ‘Opening Round’, with four games to be played in Sydney and Queensland in a bid to attract fans in rugby league heartland.
Sydney Swans host Melbourne to kick off the season at the SCG before GWS take on Collingwood in a repeat of the preliminary final, which the Magpies won by a point.
Cox took aim at the Giants after the ‘Opening Round’ fixture was announced, tweeting: “Round 1 NRL goes to Las Vegas. AFL premiers go to … A showground for livestock.”
The quip was in reference to GWS’ home ground GIANTS Stadium also being where the Sydney Royal Easter Show is held in the early stages of the AFL season.
Matthews responded to the sledge, describing it as “D-grade comedy” and taking a shot at Cox’s chances of being in Collingwood’s best 22 for the clash.
“To be honest, it’s D-grade comedy at best,” Matthews said on SEN on Friday.
“I guess that’s his thing. I guess it resonates with some people. I didn’t see it, someone showed it to me.
“I guess our players and fans are looking forward to giving him a warm welcome when he does get here, assuming he’s in the side.”
Cox, speaking to news.com.au live from Vegas for Kayo’s F1 coverage, has taken the high road and has even issued an offer to have the veteran football administrator on his personal podcast — The Mason Cox Show.
Cox is still surprised the back-and-forth has made headlines, saying: “It must be a slow news cycle over there”.
“I’m always happy to have him on the podcast,” he said.
“Whether he wants to accept that is probably the better question. He’s been there since 2011, I think, so he’s been there a while and trying to see them grow from where they’ve been to where they are now.
“They’ve been quite successful over their time, but just trying to get to that grand final and win that one more game. But I’d be happy to have him on the podcast.”
He said he understood Matthews was simply trying to protect his team.
“So I can understand where he’s coming from, but I’m just here to have a bit of a laugh,” he said.
Cox has on several occasions been involved in feisty exchanges when playing the Giants — and was famously forced to leave the field when his jumper was ripped off his body during Collingwood’s preliminary final win.
He said he can’t imagine that his rivals are taking it personally.
“I don’t really know any of them personally,” he said.
“I think most people in the AFL know I’m a bit of a shit talker and just accept it for what it is. We always talk about between the sirens, how you can be a completely different person after the game.
“You can be aggressive or be a prick or whatever it is and then after the game everyone’s friends. I’m not sure everyone knows that. But I’m not shy about giving a bit of smacktalk on the field. It’s part of the game. It’s part of the fun. I think it adds a bit more for the fans and for the game.”
It is a very different scene to what he has witnessed behind the scenes in Vegas this weekend.
Cox was a VIP inside McLaren’s pit lane headquarters during the opening day practice chaos and was surprised to see Aussie driver Oscar Piastri so calm after the first practice session — which ended when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz drove over a faulty manhole cover which caused carnage on the street circuit as engineers raced to fix the issue.
Off the track has been a very different story in Nevada.
“It’s a spectacle. The whole place is the entertainment capital of the world as they say,” Cox said.
“People are busking on the streets. There’s people running around. There’s drinking on the streets, which is allowed here. It’s wild to try and explain, but entertaining none the less.”
It would take a stroke of logistical genius to get it done, but Cox still hopes to see at least one AFL game in Vegas during his lifetime.
Originally published as Collingwood ruckman Mason Cox’s offer for GWS Giants boss after ‘D-Grade’ sledge