Collingwood Magpies reportedly decide on new AFL coach for 2022 season

Jasper BruceNCA NewsWire
McRae played 195 games for the Brisbane Bears and Brisbane Lions
Camera IconMcRae played 195 games for the Brisbane Bears and Brisbane Lions Credit: News Limited

Triple premiership player Craig McRae is set to be confirmed as Collingwood’s next senior coach.

McRae, who coached Richmond’s VFL side to the 2019 Premiership, will take the reins from Robert Harvey, who was named caretaker coach following Nathan Buckley’s resignation.

Watch every 2021 Toyota AFL Finals Series match before Grand Final. Live & Ad-Break Free on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free >

Multiple sources have reported that McRae will leave his post as an assistant at Hawthorn for what will be his first senior coaching position.

Since Collingwood parted ways with Nathan Buckley in June, speculation has been rife as to who would take the hot seat in 2022.

McRae’s former Hawthorn colleague Sam Mitchell had initially been linked to the role but subsequently accepted the Hawks’ senior coaching job. Former North Melbourne supremo Brad Scott also tapped out, as did Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson, who doubled down on his decision to take a year off from coaching earlier this month.

Don Pyke, who most recently coached Adelaide to the 2017 grand final, withdrew from the race in the last week.

That seemingly left only McRae and Tigers assistant Adam Kingsley in the hunt for the job, with McRae considered the frontrunner following Pyke’s withdrawal.

Aside from his stints with Richmond and Hawthorn, McRae served as a development coach at the Lions in 2010 and was head of development at Collingwood for five years.

As a player, he won three premierships with the Lions in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Geelong coach Chris Scott played alongside him in two of those victories.

On Monday night’s episode of AFL 360, Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall said McRae would be “terrific” for Collingwood.

“He’s had a good experience in a couple of different football environments, including Hawthorn and Richmond as well,” Dunstall said.

“He’s got a great developmental background, he’s a ripper bloke. I think he’d be a great choice.

“Although I don’t like cheering for Collingwood too much, I’d like to see them do well under him.”

Aust footballer Craig McRae celebrating scoring goal.
AFL football - Brisbane Lions vs Geelong match at the Gabba 23 May 1999. a/ct
/Football/AFL
Camera IconMcRae played 195 games for the Brisbane Bears and Brisbane Lions Credit: News Limited

McRae will have his work cut out for him in 2022 — the Magpies finished lower on the ladder than ever before this season.

The emergence of exciting youngsters such as Trent Bianco, Jack Ginnivan and Trey Ruscoe, as well as the imminent arrival of highly rated son-of-a-gun Nick Daicos, will give McRae plenty to work with, however.

McRae’s appointment leaves Carlton as the only AFL side in need of a senior coach for the 2022 season after the beleaguered David Teague was unceremoniously sacked last week.

Former Saints and Dockers boss Ross Lyon is considered the most likely candidate for the top job at Princes Park.

Lyon coached the Dockers to their only AFL grand final appearance in 2013 and also guided St Kilda to deciders in 2009 and 2010.

Originally published as Collingwood Magpies reportedly decide on new AFL coach for 2022 season

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails