Senior Coach Craig McRae has addressed the media ahead of Thursday night’s Easter Thursday clash with Brisbane at the Gabba.

McRae spoke about the challenge of coming up against the side the Pies played in last year’s Grand Final, the fundamentals the team is working on at training, and the exciting youth coming through after an impressive VFL Round One clash.


Travelling to the Gabba

“There’s elements of what we do well against Brisbane that stack up,” McRae said.

“They’ve got some great strengths as well and we’ve got huge respect for Brisbane.

“Three games ago we were playing against each other in a Grand Final and I’d like to think there’s a lot of good players in both teams.

“Most things in life when you have adversity, you’re better for it. We’re living a bit of that now and I’m sure we’ll be better for it.

“This is a great challenge and we’re going to enjoy gritting our teeth.” 

Working on the fundamentals

“We went back to basics last week in terms of wanting to see our DNA in certain parts of our game and I think for most parts we delivered on that,” he said.

“Internally we were pretty happy with that, and then there’s some other parts that we think are a long way off still.

“I said after the game ‘it doesn’t take much’. A couple of centre bounce clearances here and the pressure rating is down a little bit…and here we are.

“We’re getting busy, I keep saying it every week, but it’s a great place to work when you’re coming in with a highly motivated group that just want to get better.”

Backing players in

“I’m not going to change, we back people in. We like to believe in people and give them a chance,” McRae said when asked about selection.

“We’re very busy internally, things need to get busy for a couple, the whole footy world knows that.

“We like to be loyal and back people in and allow them to go and makes amends or show us what you’ve got and believe in people.”

Young players exciting in VFL

“I was wrapped with our VFL and Josh Fraser and all the gang, the way that they’ve set our young players up,” he said.

“They had a terrific performance in Round One, I went there energised by what I saw and left energised with what I saw.

“Young players are playing above the level, Nobes (John Noble) was one that looked really sharp, (Harvey) Harrison, Ed Allan’s showing some real signs, TJ (Tew Jiath).

“There’s some excitement amongst the group as much as the broader world doesn’t want to hear it, but there is some excitement here."