How Pie regained his love for footy
Chris Mayne is in love with football again.
Just two years ago, the then new Magpie was lampooned and widely ridiculed as a big-money recruitment bust after spending his first season at Collingwood languishing in the VFL.
Since then, the former Docker has hardly missed a senior game in two seasons.
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He's evolved into a Magpie mainstay and one of coach Nathan Buckley's most reliable players.
At work, he credits assistant coaches Robert Harvey and Garry Hocking for helping him "enjoy football again".
At home, the unwavering support of wife Britt has been the other key factor in his transformation.
"I am definitely loving football," Mayne told the Herald Sun.
"If it wasn't for my wife Britt and the people around me such as my manager and my family, things might have been different.
"To have that support in my inner circle and to have Britt by my side pushing me to be the best I can be, I wouldn't be where I am now without it."
Mayne earlier this year spoke publicly about the troubles he faced in 2017, detailing how he would often break down in tears in the club carpark.
He said he was able to overcome his issues by finding the strength to vocalise exactly what he was feeling instead of bottling it up.
"I think it was about having the courage just to speak about it," he said.
"I think we've seen great stories this year from the likes of Adam (Treloar) coming out and speaking about his troubles.
"Sadly seeing what happened with Danny Frawley, it goes to show we're in such a stressful environment.
"It might be seen through the public eye that it is all roses and stuff, but it is extremely stressful and challenging.
"I was just finding the adjustment really challenging coming from Freo, but the support was still there and my wife was amazing and my family and friends.
"And probably once I was able to get away (at the end of 2017) I was able to reset and look at what I was going to do."
The wingman said a frank and honest conversation with Buckley at the end of 2017 laid the foundation for his revival at Collingwood.
"I told Bucks exactly what I was going to do," Mayne said.
"I never wanted to give in, I wanted to fight and prove myself, and from that moment on I trained really hard for 12 weeks and got myself in really good shape mentally and physically and attacked the next year.
"Looking back on that first season, there were so many underlying things that year with the speculation about Bucks being out of contract and I was kind of in there as well.
"There was so much going on, so I think when we finally got the chance to reset and have a chat at the end of that year, I think that benefited both of us.
"From that moment on we haven't looked back."
The 30-year-old is playing with a lot more freedom and happiness, even though he has come to realise that overthinking would always be a part of his DNA.
"The biggest thing I've learned is my mind is always going to tick," he said.
"I work with sport psychs, I always have, and I've learned they're just thoughts and feelings.
"I kind of let them come in and let them go at the same time and don't hang on to them, and just focus on what you have to do."
Mayne has collected just under 400 disposals this season, which is more than he's ever had in any of his 12 AFL seasons and 216 games to date.
He is in a good place and said he now loves football to the point where he wants to go into coaching one day.
"I feel like with Bucks and all the coaches and the senior players that I've been able to build trust that I can play a role for the team when needed," he said.
"I feel like I've always been able to prepare well and that's what has kept me going and I want to play on as long as I can and once that is said and done move on to coaching."