In early September, Collingwood announced the appointment of former Brisbane premiership player Craig McRae as the new senior coach. McRae, 47, beat out Richmond assistant Adam Kingsley after former Adelaide coach Don Pyke pulled out. McRae said of his appointment, "We're in the position of just getting as good as we can as quick as we can - we don't want to put a ceiling on that. I spoke to the playing group before and my appointment offers opportunity and possibility. I'm pretty pumped, let's face it, this is a significant part of my journey and it's been a long one." As a premiership player with Brisbane and an assistant at Hawthorn under Alastair Clarkson in 2021, he knows what it takes to win and said, "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. "
He has spent 15 years as an assistant coach and in development. He was appointed coach of Richmond's VFL side in 2016 and led them to the 2019 VFL premiership. McRae's former Brisbane teammate and ex-Lions coach Justin Leppitsch had also been sounded out by the Pies for a role as a senior assistant Leppitsch, who has this year coached school football while working in the media, and McRae are close friends and shared in three premierships as players at the Lions and several years in coaching at the Tigers.
McRae conceded he had mixed thoughts in pursuing the Pies' vacancy when first approached by head of football Graham Wright,. It was Wright how got McRae to Hawthorn from Richmond. at the end of 2020. McRae identified a need to "improve the contest" for the Pies heading into next year and that he had been assessing all remaining finalists as to the best style to adapt into 2022.
Collingwood CEO Mark Anderson said, "Success has been part of Craig's football DNA." Club president Mark Korda, who announced he would step down at the end of the year, said McRae was a "proven winner" and a perfect fit for the club after it "changed the direction" of its football program at the end of 2020, "Craig is the ideal fit for the profile of our playing list. His strengths fit our program."
Caretaker coach Robert Harvey, who took over when Nathan Buckley stepped aside, will depart. Assistant Brenton Sanderson won't be part of the club's coaching panel next season but is in discussions about another potential role within the club. Midfield coach Scott Selwood remains contracted for 2022, however it remains to be seen where assistant Hayden Skipworth sits in the club's plans.
Premierships: 2001, 2002, 2003
2007-2009: Richmond player development coach
2010: Brisbane development coach
2011-2015: Collingwood head of development
2016-2020: Richmond assistant coach
2017-2019: Richmond VFL head coach
2021: Hawthorn assistant coach
2022: Collingwood senior coach
Article last changed on Friday, September 10, 2021 - 9:30 PM EDT