Pies star excited for ‘fresh start’ under new coach McRae

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A new head coach will take charge of Collingwood for the first time in nine years and a Pies star believes it’s the ‘fresh start’ the club needs.

For the first time since 2012, Collingwood has a new full-time head coach in the form of Craig McRae and according to Pies star Jack Crisp, it’s “just the fresh start we need”.

The vacancy at Collingwood opened up after Nathan Buckley left his post midway through the 2021 season, nine years after he became head coach of the club, having spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons as an assistant to Mick Malthouse.

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The Pies couldn’t deliver a premiership under Buckley’s watch, going down by five points in an agonising grand final defeat to West Coast in 2018.

Now that Collingwood has officially hit the reset button with the appointment of McRae, Crisp cannot wait to get to work.

“Since he’s (McRae) come on board, I think it’s a great fresh start for the club,” Crisp told NCA NewsWire.

“Having Leppa (Justin Leppitsch) come in, who I’ve worked with, is great. I’ve never met Brendon Bolton, but he’ll be great for the club as well.

“I think it’s just the fresh start we need, a lot of guys are really feeling optimistic on what we can achieve and are really excited to get to work as a group and restart things as a club.”

Crisp is coming off of hip surgery, but estimates he will be up and running once pre-season kicks into full swing.

McRae has been busy preparing for the 2022 season and is already displaying one of the key traits that made him the ideal candidate for Collingwood.

Throughout the press conference announcing McRae’s appointment, Collingwood President Mark Korda constantly referenced the 47-year-old’s strong ability to connect with players in order to get the best out of them.

Crisp revealed McRae has already made a headstart on getting to know his players, and recognises his methods are the best way to get the squad performing at its highest level.

“Everyone’s got their strengths and weaknesses as coaches, but I think what Craig is more of is he’s a relationship builder as well,” Crisp said.

“He’s been catching up with blokes one-on-one already and diving in to build those relationships not just about football, but how they are as people.

“I think that’s probably the base of where you’ve got to start, because if you don’t know these people and you don’t understand how they work, then how are you going to get the best out of them at the football club and on the footy field?

“I think where he’s starting is a really good spot, and over the two months or three months before we start training, everyone can slowly build those relationships individually and get to little training sessions in groups together.

“By the time we start, everyone will be fresh as a daisy and ready to go.”

Jack Crisp is an ambassador for Footy Colours Day, an initiative by the Fight Cancer Foundation.

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