Max Collier was selected to represent the Northern Football Netball League in its under-15 boys division one side in the 2021 AFL Victoria Metro Junior Development Series.

By Tricia Mifsud

FIFTEEN-year-old Max Collier says his older brother Zane is watching down on him as he continues to excel in football.

Zane Collier, who died in 2015 to osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, has inspired his little brother’s sporting achievements, including making the Northern Football Netball League’s junior interleague squad to play in the 2021 AFL Victoria Metro Junior Development Series.

Max was one of the 12 young male and female footballers from Kilmore and Wallan selected in the interleague squad.

His father Mark said Max had gone through so much for someone of his age and had done a great job to achieve what he had been able to do.

“Max has been through everything with us, we lost everything in the ’09 bushfires; we lost our house and all our animals and then he lost Zane, which hit us all pretty hard,” Mr Collier said.

“Zane was a gun footballer, and Max has really excelled, and he says he’s got Zane watching over him.”

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In both NFNL’s 64-point loss to Eastern Football Netball League, and 78-point win against Riddell District Football Netball League, Collier was named among the best players and kicked one and two goals respectively.

The NFNL has six teams representing the league: two under-15 boys’ teams, two under-15 girls’ teams and two under-14 boys’ teams.

Joining him were Kilmore’s Cooper Herbet, Benjamin Doyle, Maddison Lewis, Ashleigh Hunt, William Bowshall-Tanner and Jackson Mansfield and Wallan’s Rebecca Hawkins, Harley Lisle, Jarrah Younger and Henry Davis.

Mr Collier said when his family lost Zane, Max initially found it tough and needed extra support [in the] early days.

“But Zane, before he passed, had a talk to Max, and had a talk to Reid [younger brother to Zane, older to Max] and he said, ‘be the best you can be and I’ll always watch over you’,” he said.

Max continues pursuing his football dreams and is currently playing football for his school, Assumption College, in the inter-A team and has managed to secure himself some training days with the First XIII’s.

Max has also been selected in the Team Vic Australian Football 15 years and under Australian Football State Team (white), presented annually by School Sports Australia. He is the only representative from Assumption College, but also from the Mitchell Shire, to be named in the side.

“He’s as good as Zane, but he has the height, he’s just really tall,” Mr Collier said.

“He works hard, he lives and breathes footy.”

Out of school, Max is the Kilmore under-15’s captain, and has won best and fairest awards for his age division in consecutive years.

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