Collingwood coach's furious spray after gutting AFL finals loss

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Collingwood Magpies coach Craig McRae is pictured left, with Josh Daicos pictured on the right.
Collingwood Magpies coach Craig McRae was filthy with an innocuous act from some of his players after their narrow qualifying final loss to Geelong. Pictures: Getty Images

Collingwood coach Craig McRae took an almighty potshot at his players after their agonising six-point qualifying final loss to Geelong for a relatively innocuous act.

Geelong engineered something out of nothing in the final 90 seconds of the quarter to break a tie in what had otherwise been an absolute arm-wrestle against the Magpies.

BEAUTIFUL: Tom Hickey chokes back tears in moving AFL finals message to family

UPROAR: Richmond under fire over Dustin Martin 'mistake' in finals loss

Geelong's comeback, which saw them kick four of the last five goals, was sparked by Gary Rohan, whose handball to Max Holmes in the goalsquare set up the matchwinning major.

It was a devastating setback for the Magpies, who had dominated the first half, and will now face a stern test against the Fremantle Dockers in next weekend's semi-final.

As the siren sounded, many exhausted Magpies players collapsed to the ground as the Cats celebrated around them - an act which left McRae seething.

The former triple premiership winner with the Brisbane Lions admonished his players after the game, telling reporters falling to the ground after a loss like that was tantamount to 'acting like a loser'.

“We want to act like winners,” he said.

“I must admit, the siren goes and there‘s half a dozen of our guys laying on the ground. For me, that’s not a winner. That’s acting like a loser.

“We lost the game, we’re not losers. I just made that point.

“We’re here to win this thing, we’ve given it everything we’ve got to get to this time of the year and you want to give it your best shot.”

The Cats also exorcised their first-week September demons on Saturday with the pulsating 11.12 (78) to 10.12 (72) qualifying final win in front of 91,525 fans at the MCG.

The Cats were behind at every change against the Magpies, who have made an art form this season of pulling off tight wins, but kicked four of the last five goals in the game.

Geelong and Rohan stood up when it counted to earn the week off ahead of their preliminary final as the gallant Magpies face a sudden-death semi-final next weekend.

Geelong book preliminary final place with AFL comeback against Magpies

Geelong coach Chris Scott has no concerns another week off could hurt his side's AFL premiership chances.

They will take on either Melbourne or Brisbane on September 16 or 17 for a place in the season decider.

Scott doesn't have a preference whether Geelong play on the Friday or Saturday.

And he is not bothered by the fact the Cats will have just one game under their belts in almost four weeks leading into their preliminary final, factoring in the controversial pre-finals bye.

"I've just got so much faith in the people that are charged with that responsibility (of laying out the fitness program)," Scott told reporters.

"A lot of thought's gone into the possibility that this might happen, so they're just ready to roll out the plan that was forecast."

Scott did predict changes to the usual program as Geelong look to maintain a good level of intensity at the business end of the season.

Geelong players sing the team song after their qualifying final win over Collingwood.
Geelong kicked four of the final five goals to stun Collingwood in the qualifying final. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"We'll do it differently to the last fortnight, for the simple reason that the players will need a little more volume than what they've had playing a little less footy," Scott said.

"Without detailing exactly how we're going to go about it, we'll get some work into them.

"We have a group of players that are certainly not afraid of hard work.

"It's nice to get a couple of days to decompress, including for the coaches, and then get back and attack it and look forward to some hard work.

"We certainly won't be wrapping them in cotton wool."

Geelong captain Joel Selwood also backed the club's fitness staff to lay out a suitable program and said they had worked wonders with the veterans on the Cats' list this season.

Selwood is one of several experienced players who have been managed at stages throughout the year to have them cherry ripe for September.

With AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.