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Hawks assistant to be named new Collingwood coach

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30th August, 2021
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AFL club Collingwood appear set to appoint Hawthorn assistant Craig McRae as their new senior coach.

The decision on McRae as a full-time replacement for Nathan Buckley, who departed in June, could be ratified by the Magpies’ board this week.

It comes after Richmond assistant Adam Kingsley and West Coast’s Jaymie Graham were reportedly told they are no longer in the frame.

Port Adelaide assistant and ex-Brisbane coach Michael Voss is also out of the running, while Sydney assistant Don Pyke, the former Adelaide coach, pulled out of the race last week.

McRae won three premierships as a player under legendary coach Leigh Matthews during a 195-game career with Brisbane, retiring after the Lions’ grand final defeat in 2004.

The 47-year-old has had stints as an assistant at Richmond, Brisbane, Collingwood and Hawthorn.

He was the Hawks’ forward line coach this year and would become the eighth active senior coach to have worked as an assistant to Hawthorn mastermind Alastair Clarkson.

Matthews recently said McRae had “done the hard yards” and developed into a “coach of the modern era” during his 15 seasons as an assistant at the top level.

“That type of personality seems to be more the type of personality that helps you be a good coach in this era, where a lot of player relationships are to be built,” Matthews told radio station 3AW.


“You’ve got to get your team of coaches working well around you.

“A lot of the things that make you an alpha male champion player are just things that are of no value – they’re almost negatives – when you become a senior coach.

“I think Fly (McRae) is a coach of the modern era in his general personality.”

Collingwood are set to appoint just their third full-time coach this century, after Mick Malthouse (2000-2011) and Buckley (2012-2021).

Buckley’s assistant Robert Harvey took the reins on an interim basis for the final nine rounds of the home-and-away season this year.

The Magpies are one of two clubs actively seeking a new coach, with Carlton having parted ways with David Teague last week.

Former St Kilda and Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is the hot favourite to win the Blues job.