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Buti's Call: Big Texan the best of all Americans in the AFL

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In last year’s AFL preliminary final between Collingwood and then-defending premiers Richmond at the MCG, a tall Texan who had not touched a Sherrin until late 2014 stole the show.

All 211cm of Mason Cox showed something special in the second quarter that propelled the Pies to a famous victory over the Tigers and a shock Grand Final appearance against West Coast.

Collingwood's big Texan Mason Cox has had the biggest impact of any American who has tried to play AFL.Credit:AAP

In the space of nine minutes, Cox outmarked experienced Tigers in defence including captain Trent Cotchin and five-time All-Australian full back Alex Rance to kick three majors and send the Magpie Army into a frenzy, their chants of "Colllllllllllingwood" replaced by "U-S-A, U-S-A".

The 28-year-old's exploits were reported across Australia and even overseas in the prestigious New York Times, where journalist S.B. Tang wrote:

"As Mason Cox sprinted toward the football, one thought ran through his mind: attack it. He leapt up onto the back of the defender in front of him, using him as a stepladder to bring himself closer to the dropping ball. He timed his leap to perfection, turning his 6-foot-11 body into a long crane, and plucked the yellow, oval-shaped ball out of the night sky.

"It was a clean and pivotal mark, or catch, 25 meters (27 yards) out from goal in an Australian rules football match. Cox would finish that game with eight contested marks — the second-highest ever in an Australian Football League playoff game — and three goals. His team, Collingwood Football Club of Melbourne, won that playoff game but lost in the grand final — Australia’s Super Bowl — the next week."

Cox, from Highland Village north of Dallas, played US college basketball and soccer on his way to a degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University but was recruited by Collingwood in the 2014 AFL Rookie Draft on a category B international rookie contract.

The tall Texan left behind a lucrative and attractive job offer........

© The Age