Collingwood’s Senior Coach Craig McRae addressed the media this morning ahead of Saturday’s Round Six clash against Port Adelaide.  

McRae touched on the impact the Round Five BYE had on the side, Scott Pendlebury’s rib injury, the retirement of Nathan Murphy, the performances of Billy Frampton and Harvey Harrison in 2024 and coming up against the Power.

“This time of year, you don’t get too many opportunities to take a breath. We probably needed it more than we realised,” McRae said.

“There are just little niggles that it (the BYE) would’ve supported.

“The focus was to get energy in. We did a good recap of the first five weeks of where we’re at, what we’re doing well and what we need to get busy with. So, it was a good chance to reset ourselves physically but also look at how we’re playing.”

Scott Pendlebury’s rib injury

“Pendles got through training so we’ll assess how he pulls up. He’s a marvel with his ability to recover and get ready to play, so it might be hard to leave him out so we’ll see how it goes,” McRae said.

Players standing tall in the VFL
“There’s quite a few playing really well at VFL level. We’ve got Harvey Harrison and Joe Richards playing good footy, Ed Allan played well, Finn Macrae was another great player for the VFL – they’re playing some really great footy,” said McRae.

Nathan Murphy’s retirement
“This is something that’s been in stewing in the background for a while, so it’s not a sudden moment of shock,” said McRae.

“Any time one of your valued players and cultural guys decides to walk away from the game it’s difficult. You want to love and support his family and he’s not lost to us as a Club.

“It’s really important to say it out loud that we want to support our players and how they exit our club, and I think the Club’s done it reasonably well to date and we want to make sure he stays with us.

“We celebrate Murph for his contribution to the Collingwood Football Club.” 

Billy Frampton’s start to 2024
“Billy’s playing the best footy I’ve seen him play. Three games in a row he’s played on good opposition and held his own, it’s important to us,” said McRae. 

Coming up against Port Adelaide
“I think every week presents an opportunity to be a better version of us. We’ve had a great rivalry in recent time with Port, they’re a quality opposition and games tend to be tight and contest is strong and we’re looking forward to it, said McRae.

“You’ve got their three mids and their three keys as well forward of the ball and the two big ones down back as well, so a lot of threats.

“We talk about managing what the opposition’s strengths are and bringing our own opportunities to exploit those things.” 

Dan McStay’s progress
“Dan’s flying, he’s going really well. Ticking a lot of boxes, still got a lot more to get through but right now he looks fit and strong,” said McRae .

“He might have some time away because he’s been going for four months now, so we might give him a couple of weeks to freshen up.”