AFL: Collingwood Magpies announce Brisbane Lions triple-premiership player Craig McRae as senior coach

Samantha RogersThe West Australian
Collingwood's new senior coach Craig McRae.
Camera IconCollingwood's new senior coach Craig McRae. Credit: Collingwood Magpies

Collingwood has announced Brisbane three-time premiership player Craig McRae as the club’s new senior coach.

McRae, who has worked as an assistant at Hawthorn, Collingwood and Richmond, where he coached the Tigers VFL side to a premiership in 2019.

Caretaker coach Robert Harvey will depart the Pies after 10 years, while McRae’s former Lions teammate Justin Leppistch is expected to join him in a senior position.

MORE AFL:

McRae thanked Collingwood for the opportunity to lead a team as the senior coach.

“I have a role to play but so does every player and member of the football program. We will only rise together,” McRae said.

“Success is the product of a process. I have been fortunate to witness up close and share in some very successful programs and I know that teaching solid habits can build a winning habit of its own.

“If we remain realistic about where we are, work hard, make smart decisions, think selflessly and understand that you can always learn from the game then we should make progress.

“The playing group that I’ve seen from afar appears to be very talented. Quite a few are new to the AFL and they will need nurturing but we should all – rookie or veteran - expect to be better in 2022 than we were in 2021.”

The 47-year-old will be just Collingwood’s third full-time coach this century, after Mick Malthouse (2000-2011) and Nathan Buckley (2012-2021).

Buckley departed the club after the round 13 upset win over Melbourne earlier this year.

After 260 games as a Collingwood player, the Brownlow medallist and seven-time All Australian had coached the Pies to a grand final in 2018, a preliminary final in 2019 and semi-final in 2020, before the club’s disastrous start to 2021.

The Pies had 3 wins, 12 losses going into Buckley’s last game as coach and finished the season 6-16.

MORE TO COME.

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

Sign up for our emails