Beau McCreery might be one of the least experienced players on Craig McRae’s team, but he’s one of the first picked every week.

Tenacious, tough, and uncompromising, the 22-year-old would’ve played every game in 2023 if not for suspension in Round 24, and he puts a lot of it down to the belief instilled in him by his coach.

“He’s (McRae) obviously been massive for this team and just for the boys and the staff, I think everyone feels really comfortable within themselves inside the four walls,” McCreery said.

“For me he’s been huge just believing in me and instilling that belief in myself and having a lot of trust in me and my role and what I can bring to the team.

“I think that’s helped me grow as a player for sure.

“Our family plays a massive part in it, and he’s brought them along for the ride, I’m not sure how many other clubs do that.”

Having thought his AFL dream wouldn’t become a reality as little as three years ago, McCreery has been intent on soaking in each moment throughout his 60-game career.

Grand Final week was the perfect time for that, with McCreery in awe of the Magpie Army’s support throughout.

“I really enjoyed the build-up and I tried to take it in as much as I could because you can get caught up in that stuff pretty easily, but the week as a whole was pretty elite,” he said.

“Like, who has 12,000 watch them train? Some teams never even play in front of 12,000 people, in the SANFL I never played in front of 12,000 probably so for them to come watch training is just crazy.

“It’s such a good feeling and the support from the Collingwood Army means a lot.

“A few times I just stopped to chill and take it all in, especially in the warm up.”

Like many, Jordan De Goey’s final quarter goal stands out as a moment from the decider he will never forget.

Taking his place in the forward fifty during the same play, McCreery only needed to watch as the midfielder put the Pies back in front.

“I was stressing for a sec there and as soon as we got that clearance, I just started legging it to the goal. I looked back and Jordy had flushed it, and I was just like ‘oh my god’,” he said.

“It was such a special moment, and it probably didn’t get recognised for how good of a goal it was and the momentum that Jodry took out of Brisbane and put back on us.

“It was a freak goal so credit to him.

“When the siren went there was a feeling of disbelief. It was such a special thing.”

Beau McCreery’s 2023 stats:

  • Played the most games of his career in a season
  • Kicked the most goals of his career in a season
  • Ranks elite in tackles
  • Ranked #5 at Collingwood in tackles