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The four players who could make or break Collingwood in 2022

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Roar Guru
9th January, 2022
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It was an embarrassment for Collingwood to have finished 17th in 2021 as they could be touted as footy’s version of Manchester United.

They have the 13th oldest list in 2022. They have a good mix between youth and experience.

It will be a new start to Collingwood’s season in 2022, with a new senior coach Craig McRae along with two new senior figures who have both been a part of clubs that have had success and a good culture in Richmond and Hawthorn respectively.

These two assistants are Justin Leppitsch and Brendon Bolton. The two will fill important roles that will help McRae’s chances of success immensely. Leppitsch will be an assistant coach as head of strategy and defence, while Bolton will be the director of coaching and an assistant coach in the midfield position under senior coach McRae.

Craig McRae the assistant coach of the Hawks looks on

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

A fresh start will be there for all to see with Patrick Lipinski, who has plenty of potential and was unlucky to be squeezed out of arguably the best midfield in the AFL at the Western Bulldogs.

In season 2021, he still managed to play nine of 22 games in the home-and-away season. He should get some midfield time and take the pressure off the likes of Scott Pendlebury and Taylor Adams.

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The Bulldogs won seven of the nine games that he played in and lost five of the other 13 games in the 2021 home-and-away season.

What was impressive was that despite being under pressure for his spot in the Bulldogs’ team, he averaged the third highest disposal efficiency of any Bulldogs player with an average of 83 per cent per game.

He has the capacity to play on the wing or in the midfield. It will be interesting for all to see whether he has a better season than Adam Treloar as it should make for an interesting talking point.

Brodie Grundy needs to deliver quick smart if Collingwood are to rise up the ladder. If he isn’t in the conversation at the very least for the AFL All Australian squad of 40, then his season may be deemed a failure.

Brodie Grundy kicks

(Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The fact that Collingwood won both of the games that Grundy didn’t feature in during season 2021 – which were Round 12 and Round 13, against an emerging Adelaide Crows team in Round 12 and Melbourne Demons in Round 13 – says it all.

Will Hoskin-Elliott has the potential to take the pressure off the likes of Jamie Elliott and Brody Mihocek by hitting the scoreboard more. He is 28 so he should be leading from the front and helping the likes of Pendlebury build a good culture.

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In four of the six games where Hoskin-Elliott gathered 21 disposals or more, Collingwood won. They defeated the Adelaide Crows, Melbourne Demons, Richmond Tigers and West Coast Eagles. For all of those four games he was selected on the wing.

There’s no doubt that McRae will have the capacity to be flexible with where he puts Hoskin-Elliott’s magnet in season 2022, but ultimately, it’s up to Hoskin-Elliott to play to the level he is capable of whatever role he is given.

Jack Crisp has the capability of playing in defence or in the midfield, which is a big strength of his.

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Jack Crisp runs.

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

To go with that, he won the Collingwood best and fairest in season 2021. He is an extremely reliable player whose contribution to the team has been invaluable.

There’s no doubt that he was unlucky to miss out on the AFL All Australian squad of 40 in season 2021, which was probably down to the fact that Collingwood weren’t competitive for the most part.

Expect that to change slowly but surely under the tutelage of a new coaching group. He is a player that deserves more recognition, which he should get in season 2022 if Collingwood can become the formidable force that they were in the past.

Last but not least, he will play an important part in building a good culture and helping the likes of Nick Daicos. There’s no doubt that Crisp is a player that leads by example and lets his actions do the talking.

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