Collingwood coach Craig McRae confessed he couldn't face his team immediately after the heartbreaking loss to the Sydney Swans because he was too emotional.
Sydney repeated history, winning through to the AFL grand final with an epic one-point preliminary final win over Collingwood at the SCG.
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In front of a heaving capacity crowd of 45,608, the Swans rushed through a Collingwood behind in the last few seconds to secure the 14.11 (95) to 14.10 (94) win.
In a stoic scene, Magpies players didn't slump to the floor after the loss but remained on their feet.
Many of the young players were emotional after falling just short against a fast-starting Swans outfit.
First-year senior coach McRae also made a candid admission.
The Collingwood coach said he found it hard to face his players right after the match because of his own emotions.
“I left them alone because I just wanted to get my emotions in check. I knew I was right on the edge of being too emotional and I didn’t want to express that to the players,” he said.
“It was more on pride though – of course we are disappointed to lose, but it was more I knew I couldn’t look them in the eye without losing my emotions.
“The reality of this sport is you don’t start where you finish. We start 18th again. But there’s a lot of stuff that’s been built and the foundations of what we want to be.”
Collingwood praised for losing reaction
McRae also discussed the image of the players remaining on their feet after the win.
Despite giving it there all and falling just short, the Magpies were brave in defeat.
— Sam Landsberger (@SamLandsberger) September 17, 2022
"Sometimes when you lose, you can still act like winners, McRae said.
“It‘s not about falling to the ground, it’s about what we want to be. I put winners only up and I put what ifs and if only. Because winners don’t think what ifs and if only. They just use it. It just fuels you for more.
“There’ll be a lot of people laying in bed tonight going if only, what if and I just don’t want to live in that space.
“Because winners pick themselves up and use the lessons and get better and use it for motivation. That’s what we do.”
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