IT takes something special for tens of thousands of Australians to chant U.S.A at a preliminary final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Mason Cox’s second quarter was better than special. It was awesome.
In the space of nine minutes the Oklahoma State University graduate booted three goals and sent the MCG into a frenzy more like a Trump convention in his native Texas.
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His first major saw Cox mark high in the air and finish calmly from 20 metres. Cox nodded his head in self-approval, almost like Viv Richards in his heyday in this very arena.
Less than three minutes later he took an even better grab, this time over the top of Richmond captain Trent Cotchin. His shot on goal was not as convincing as his first but it slipped in between the big posts all the same.
The broadcast cameras flicked to Cox’s parents, who have not been in Australia for more than 36 hours, and both had their iPhones on film mode as if the MCG was a tourist attraction and this event was one big novelty.
But for Collingwood, Richmond and Cox, this was reality and he was not done yet. The Magpies were a runaway freight train and a man who had never touched a Sherrin before 2015 was driving it.
“It’s getting better. He’s getting bigger and better,” veteran commentator Bruce McAvaney said on Channel 7.
“What has Collingwood unleashed here? We’re seeing the future of the game, perhaps. It looks different, doesn’t it?”
Six minutes later Cox delivered again, this time in front of a frustrated five-time All-Australian Alex Rance. His chip kick extended the margin to 42 points and it was Collingwood’s sixth unanswered goal.
Again, the U.S.A chant was deafening around the modern day colosseum, much to the delight of Cox and his teammates.
Shortly after Cox jogged towards the interchange bench and received a standing ovation from the Melbourne Cricket Club members.
Cox may have had just three disposals for the quarter, but each of them was a high mark and a goal.
“Absolutely incredible wasn’t it?” West Coast and Carlton great Chris Judd said on Triple M.
“Nobody could have envisaged this. Outstanding from the big American.”