A 2.12-metre tall Texan who didn’t know what AFL was four years ago is set to star on the sport’s biggest stage.
Mason Cox stole the show as he helped lead the Collingwood Magpies to a 39 point upset win against defending premiers Richmond Tigers at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday night.
So dominant was the ruckman’s performance in the Magpies’ win against the minor premiers that the 100,000 crowd began chanting ‘U-S-A’ during the second quarter when he booted three crucial goals.
Cox became the tallest player in AFL history when he made his debut in 2016 and had become an integral part of the Magpies line-up by the following season.
Mason Cox in 2014 after he signed with Collingwood. He became the tallest player in history to play AFL when he made his debut two years later
Proud parents Jeanette and Phil flew from the US for the game where he took eight-contested marks — the equal-most in his club’s history.
One of those contested possessions got the crowd out of their seats when he jumped above the pack to snatch a mark.
‘A grand final is going to be a lot nicer than a Superbowl,’ Cox told 3AW after the match.
His outstanding performance sent social media into meltdown, where fans called for Cox to take over as Prime Minister.
Mason Cox (pictured in the Whitsundays) now calls Australia home
It didn’t take long for news about his incredible display to reach home.
‘How about that for a performance? American Mason Cox boots home three goals in front of a delirious 100,000 fans at the MCG to help Collingwood Football Club into the Grand Final!,’ USAFL posted on social media on Friday night.
With the Magpies’ grand final opponents still be determined, Cox, 27, is already among the favourites to win the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground next Saturday.
One punter took to Twitter to say he’s already put $100 on Cox to win the medal.
Dusty who? Mason Cox rose above the pack to take this screamer and kick his second goal in the Magpies’ win against the Tigers
Born in Dallas, the former college basketballer signed with Collingwood in 2014 after also attracting the attention of Port Adelaide, North Melbourne, Richmond and Fremantle.
Other internationals to have played in an AFL grand final include former Sydney Swans stars Tadhg Kennelly (Ireland) and Mike Pike (Canada).
While fans were singing his praises on social media on Friday night, Cox revealed earlier this week he has previously been a target for online trolls.
Born in Dallas, Mason Cox played college basketball before taking the AFL world by storm
‘To me, it’s all a bit funny because I didn’t know the sport four years ago,’ he told reporters on Monday.
‘If you want to hate me, hate me. I don’t really care It’s a cool story, a unique story. I’m proud of my journey and I’m proud of where I’ve come from and where I’m at now.’
The game ended a 22-match MCG winning streak for the Tigers.
Collingwood will play the winner of Saturday’s preliminary final between West Coast Eagles and Melbourne Demons in Perth.
Mason Cox kicked three crucial goals in Collingwood’s preliminary final win against Richmond to book a grand final berth