14/04/2024
Craig McRae fronts the media. (Photo: Collingwood FC)

Craig McRae fronts the media. (Photo: Collingwood FC)

Following Collingwood’s 32-point defeat to the GWS Giants in the Opening Round, Craig McRae has conceded “we need to get better”.

Despite Collingwood being within two points of GWS in the second quarter, Tom Green started a run for the Giants who kicked nine of the next 11 goals.

Collingwood didn’t kick any majors in the third term and watched a 19-point halftime deficit blow out to a 40-point difference come three-quarter-time.

Despite the scoreboard suggesting otherwise, Collingwood led the inside-50 count, 60-53.

“We didn’t connect,” McRae said.

“The stats would suggest we didn’t have opportunity to score well, but there’s lots of parts to that, there’s chemistry, there’s roles, there’s opposition defending well.”

Conversely, McRae spoke highly about how GWS executed their game plan.

“They move the ball really effectively… I thought the Giants’ talls influenced the game, we just didn’t impact that part of the game,” he said.

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It was just going forward where Collingwood had issues, Jesse Hogan, Brent Daniels and Callum Brown combined for 13 goals, having their way with Collingwood’s defence.

“System-wise, I thought we were off… defensively, in particular, we need to get better don’t we,” McRae said.

“The Giants seemingly played more to their strengths than we did.”

Whilst fans might be quick to suggest there’s a ‘premiership hangover’, McRae was asked about whether this game could be viewed as a reality check, a notion which he shut down quite quickly.

“It’s sort of early to think that,” he added.

“Coming into the game we thought we’d improve, and then you get here and you get, reality.”

One positive for McRae to take away was the debut of Charlie Dean, who after multiple setbacks due to foot injuries got his chance.

“Charlie showed some signs, I think he looked promising… we’ll look for opportunities for him to grow,” McRae said.

McRae will look onwards to Round One, where they will unfurl their premiership flag ahead of their match against Sydney.

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