Max Mayo was recruited from Camberwell in the Victorian Association in 1948. At almost 6 feet (1.83 metres) in height he was a well built and talented key position forward who was strong overhead and could kick accurately over long distances.
He commenced with Norwood in 1948, but missed playing in that year’s grand final due to work commitments. He was transferred to Melbourne towards the end of the season with his employment as a weaver and technician with textile manufacturer Davies Co-op. However Norwood flew him back from Melbourne for a couple of games before he headed to England. As fortune would have it, his ship to England berthed in Adelaide for 12 hours on a Saturday, allowing him to compete in the match that afternoon against Sturt at Unley! Unfortunately he was injured early in the match and was off the ground by quarter time – Norwood nonetheless, won the game.
Upon his return to Australia in mid 1950 Mayo rejoined the Redlegs and got to play in a premiership team, kicking 3 goals, as Norwood downed Glenelg in the grand final. In 1951, Mayo won Norwood’s top goal kicking award with 34 goals. He carried on playing until 1953, saving his best for last by topping that year’s SANFL goal kicking list and winning Norwood’s best and fairest trophy. That year he was also named in The Advertiser Team of the Year at full forward and won the Radio 5AD award for the league’s top goal kicker, which carried a useful purse of 25 pounds. All that while being flown back from Melbourne after work on Friday nights for the last matches of the season.
At the end of the 1953 season he was finally transferred to Sydney with his employment, having been promoted to Weaving Manager. There he played with North Shore and in 1954 he kicked 80 goals in the season, 16 in one match, once again missing games late in the season due to injury, which possibly halted his opportunity to score the elusive ton and play in another premiership. Also that year after only 4 games with North Shore he represented NSW in an interstate match against Canberra, kicking 5 goals. In 1956 he was appointed captain coach of North Shore.
J Kahl April 2013