Collingwood big man Mason Cox is healthy and ready to be a difference maker in 2017. Now on the senior list, he’s in line to play a larger role in part due to a couple of departures-- Premiership player Travis Cloke to the Western Bulldogs, and second ruckman Jarrod Witts, who is now a Gold Coast Sun.
At 211 cm (6'10") Cox is able to play some in the ruck, but his soccer and basketball skills make him versatile enough to win his fair share of marking contests on the Collingwood forward line. Certainly his teammates love having a big target up front.
By now you’ve certainly heard the story of the big man (and fellow Texan). He played on the scout team for the Oklahoma State University women’s basketball side, worked his way onto the men’s team, graduated with an engineering degree, and was about to start a new job when he showed up at the AFL combine in 2014. He played for the Collingwood reserves in 2015, got the call up after two VFL games in 2016, and went on to kick the first Pies goal in the ANZAC day match against Essendon.
Cox kicked 17 goals in 2016 but shoulder and hip injuries limited him to 11 games. While he felt he exceeded expectations, he told ESPN Australia he wants more.
“I'm definitely looking forward to next year and having a bit more of an impact and being a bit more consistent as far as games go. Toward the end of the season, I had a few injuries that split me out of the squad for a bit. Hopefully I'll be healthy the whole year and be able to give all I can to the team,” Cox said.
Cox is eager to prove that he’s not a sideshow and can compete at the highest level of footy. Early returns are positive-- he had solid preseason showings against Essendon, Fremantle, and Richmond. His stat line included one behind, eight disposals and 29 hitouts in Collingwood’s round one loss to the Western Bulldogs.