‘What on earth’: Magpies do Dallas
Collingwood Magpies star Mason Cox has achieved a childhood dream as the AFL star and coach Nathan Buckley were interviewed live on ESPN's Sportscentre.
The famous show usually focuses on American sports but on the odd occasion, other sports can seep into the coverage, usually through the Top 10 plays of the night.
But it's not that often that the show will save some time for Aussie sports interviews and Cox was in his element.
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The US born Magpies tall came onto the scene in 2016 when he debuted in the traditional ANZAC Day match against the Essendon Bombers.
He had never seen or heard of the sport of Australian rules football before being invited to an AFL draft scouting combine in Los Angeles in 2013.
His transformation from high school soccer goalkeeper to college basketball centre to AFL key forward wasn't lost in his home state of Texas where he attended high school in Flower Mound on the outskirts of Dallas with the star making the homepage of ESPN at the time.
But Cox was in his element as he and Buckley were interviewed live on air, taking to Twitter to share the moment.
This is just crazy to me! Always watched it as a kid. Never thought I would be on it being interviewed. https://t.co/NAvt3w4PX9— Mason Cox (@masonsixtencox) October 21, 2019
Sportscentre hosts Mark Brown and Phil Murphy were talking about the Philadelphia Eagles Vs the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
While it's not too surprising that the American Cox would travel home to Dallas, it was somewhat surprising to see them on Sportscentre, something even the hosts spoke about.
Even the presenters were shocked as the first question was "what on earth are you guys doing in Dallas?"
Cox is a Texan and said as much but mentioned he may not sound like it anymore.
"I might not sound it but I'm actually from Dallas so I'm back home visiting family while we're in off-season so I figured why not come to one of the biggest games of the year in the Cowboys and the Eagles," he said.
The presenters said they would try restrain themselves from singing the Tiger's "fight song" but asked how the atmosphere at the stadium known as "Jerry's World" compare to the MCG.
"It just got a bit louder when you asked that question," Buckley said. "But getting down here and watching the big boys warm up and the size of the stadium - I think the MCG equates to something like this with 100,000 capacity - but I'm looking forward to what it brings."
The seven foot tall Cox was equated to an NBA player but then the Sportscentre host Phil Murphy surprised Buckley with an incisive question asking what the Magpies will need to do to get back to the grand final.
"We've had a couple of good years, to lose playoff game and fall one game short last year. But we got a really good squad, we're happy with our boys, we've just got to stick to our task and finding improvement from within. You look at the big fella next to me and hasn't been playing football that long - just over 50 games now I think - he's got a lot of improvement in him and this might be a big part of our improvement next year."
It's a positive finish to what had been a tough season with the Herald Sun reporting Cox had broken up with netball champion Geva Mentor before the AFL finals.
The 2019 season wasn't Cox's best, playing just 14 games and there were even rumours that he was on the outer at Collingwood.
It came to a head when Cox was linked with a move to Essendon during the Trade Period but the 28-year-old slammed the report as "fake news", denying even talking to the Bombers.
His manager later said they had preliminary talks.
But Cox slammed the reports on SEN last week.
"I hate to say it, but we are pawns in a bigger game and it is what it is," Cox said.
"The AFL put something on Twitter saying I was personally talking to Essendon. That never happened. I was never talking to anyone from that club. Whether or not the clubs were having conversations, that's something that probably happens on a daily basis with every single player on the list.
"I was probably ignorant to it, but I was never personally contacted by Essendon and never sought out any trade.
"So yeah, it was quite interesting. It's the first time I've been in talks in the trade period, it's a bit of misreading from some people and misreporting which I guess is the nature of the beast."