Newly appointed senior coach Craig McRae joined Fox Footy's AFL 360 program and is buzzing with excitement since landing the top job.
"It's pretty exciting. I get the best park at the club, and I've got some new shoes from Nike, so I'm going okay," McRae said.
"It's been a busy time. I've walked out of one job at Hawthorn, the next day I'm the coach of Collingwood, so it's been a busy time. I'm getting to work."
Only in the role for 16 days, McRae has individually spoken to 30 players for one-hour to get to know them on a personal level and will reach out to the entire football department.
The first cab off the rank was the skipper, Scott Pendlebury. The pair spoke at length on the future of the captaincy and how much longer the 33-year-old has to give at the highest level.
Although the finer details remain confidential, McRae is confident that Pendlebury has got a lot to offer and the captaincy is up to him to decide.
“I’ve just got great respect for ‘Pendles’, having worked with him previously and knowing his status at the club and the game,” McRae said.
“It (our chat) was around what he saw previously going on, some things that we can work on going forward and a little bit about himself too (and) his young family – I didn’t know his two kids prior to my time there. Just getting to know him a bit more than what I have.
“We did (talk about his future) and I’ll keep that between him and I at the moment. I still think he’s got a lot to offer out footy club in varying roles."
“I’ve said openly before I think the leadership is up to him to decide what he wants to do with that and that will take its own course.”
Last week, Justin Leppitsch (head of strategy) and Brendon Bolton (director of coaching) were added to the coaching panel under McRae, with the remaining positions to be finalised in the coming weeks.
McRae played with Leppitsch during Brisbane's premiership success from 2001-2003 and has worked alongside Bolton at Hawthorn.
The duo are set to compliment each other’s strengths well, with Bolton set to balance the coaching staff out.
“He’s outstanding at what he does. He’s really structured, and I think that’s going to compliment ‘Leppa’ and myself and other coaches that will be there,” McRae said.
“He’ll just keep us on track, I know he’ll plan a really good pre-season with all of us involved in it. He’ll make us all better, he’s a great teacher and this young group is going to really benefit from that.”
Leppa, Fly and Bolts ?? pic.twitter.com/vYJlUVmsMs— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) September 14, 2021
McRae is widely renowned as a relationship focused person, emphasising the importance of everyone being able to thrive in their own way. It'll be no different at the Magpies, as he explained to Jack Riewoldt.
“If that means you’re a funny guy like you Jack, let’s go be that guy. We’re not always like that, but I just want everyone to stand in front of everyone and be themselves,” McRae said.
Watch the interview below.