18/04/2024

New Collingwood coach Craig McRae (left) after winning the 2019 VFL premiership with Richmond. (Photo: VFL/Twitter.

The Collingwood Football Club today announced that Craig McRae would be the club's next senior coach, signing him to a three year deal

Collingwood has got its man, today announcing Craig McRae as the new senior coach to lead the team from the 2022 season on a three-year deal.

McRae is the Pies 16th senior coach in the clubs 129-year history and comes with a wealth of experience as a player and coach.

He played 195 games for the Brisbane Bears and Lions where he was a triple premiership player. He has spent 15 years serving as an assistant coach at Brisbane, Collingwood, Richmond and Hawthorn, learning under the likes of Alastair Clarkson, Damien Hardwick and Nathan Buckley.

McRae was a Richmond assistant from 2016 to 2020, where he was part of three premierships, as well as coaching the VFL side from 2017 to 2019 where he won the 2019 VFL premiership and VFL Coach of the Year.

Following the departure of Nathan Buckley after Round 13, a sub-committee was formed to determine the next senior coach of the Collingwood Football Club. The committee comprised of CEO Mark Anderson, General Manager of Football Graham Wright, Football Director and former player Paul Licuria, Director Peter Murphy and 2010 premiership player Luke Ball.

Collingwood President Mark Korda, praised McRae’s player development skills, labelling him the ideal fit.

“Craig is the ideal fit for the profile of our playing list. His strengths complement our program. He’s been asked to develop a very young squad and mould it into a premiership contender,” Korda said.

McRae is excited to return to Collingwood, where he spent five seasons as the Head of Development, and finally get his opportunity to coach at senior level.

“I’m pretty pumped. Let’s face it, this is a significant part of my journey and it’s been a long one,” McRae said.

“This is such an amazing football club, having been here for five years and seeing what this club is capable at its best.

“I saw great possibility and then when Graham sent me the brief I just thought everything that I am as a person, as a coached, it just fit the brief so, then I just had a crack at it.”

WATCH IT LIVE: Collingwood Magpies unveil their 'pretty pumped' new coach Craig  McRae
Craig McRae, back in Pies colours. (Photo: AFL)

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McRae’s goal is to instil winning habits within the playing group, and look to return to being a competitive side as soon as possible.

“We’re in a position to just get as good as we can as quick as we can. We don’t put a ceiling on that,” McRae said.

“The reality is that we’re going to get younger in recent times, and [I’m] looking forward to just getting my hands dirty.”

With the Pies struggling this year and finishing 17th on the ladder, McRae sees plenty of opportunities to improve the playing list.

“I think there’s a couple of holes you know in our structure, I’m not going to come into those in details now, we’ve got a period now we can sit back,” McRae said.

“I’ve only spoken to the playing group half an hour ago, so I don’t know everyone intimately enough, but we’ve got some work to do. We’re not happy where we are on the ladder.

“We want to get better, and you will find some opportunities within the trade period or draft to get those areas amended as best we can.”

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