Magpies’s new hope
6 September 2021
The Collingwood Magpies desperately need a coach of the calibre of newly appointed Craig McRae. Nicknamed “Fly”, McRae featured prominently in my warts and all study of the 1995 footy season in which Brisbane made the AFL finals for the first time. McRae’s nickname derived from the fact he was such a nuisance to opposing players.
McRae, who in 1995 kicked 28 goals, was one of only five Brisbane Bears players that year to appear in all 23 games. He wore the number four guernsey for the Bears and then for the Brisbane Lions, for whom in 2001-03 he was a triple premiership-winning player. McRae is an ideal choice to replace Nathan Buckley as Collingwood coach for the 2022 AFL season, and beyond.
A coach of McRae’s abilities, both as a player and an extremely successful VFL coach, could rapidly resurrect the fortunes of Collingwood, whose performance this season, when we finished second-last on the ladder, was almost as bad as 1999 and 1976, which were the only years in our proud history when the Magpies finished last.
Ross Fitzgerald, Redfern, NSW
The Australian, September 6, 2021, p 10.
Test of character
Two of the most famous sporting clubs in Australia are Collingwood and Manly; the “hatred” for these clubs from all but their army of faithful is testament to that. The former has appointed a new coach and Ross Fitzgerald (Letters, 6/9) hopes it’s enough to redeem on-ground performance. Craig McRae replaces Nathan Buckley, who failed to win a premiership; Dom Sheed’s left foot put paid to his best chance at the 2018 grand final. My son and I were fortunate to be at the MCG that day and a moment remains in our memory. The Collingwood banner unexpectedly collapsed and Buckley took the time to console the Magpie supporter who believed she had let the team down. Buckley didn’t coach his team to victory that day and he didn’t leave Collingwood in the manner of his choosing, but his dignity is intact and by his actions reminds us that character transcends the game of football.
Kim Keogh, East Fremantle, WA
The Australian, September 7, 2021 p 10.