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Collingwood fans outraged by premiership flag 'gimmick' ahead of Swans clash

Pies supporters are enraged by their club's decision ahead of Friday night's blockbuster clash.

Collingwood fans have been left flabbergasted by the club's decision to hold the 2023 premiership flag unfurling ceremony more than an hour before Friday night's AFL blockbuster against the Swans. The Pies will celebrate last year's triumph with the longstanding tradition of unfurling the flag at the first home game of the following season.

The ceremony will begin at 6.24pm and be finished by 6.34pm, according to the club's schedule shared online. And that is a later time than what was initially planned, with the proceedings pushed back nine minutes from the original time of 6.15pm after immediate backlash from supporters.

Pictured Collingwood players
Collingwood fans are furious at the club's decision to hold the 2023 premiership flag unfurling ceremony more than an hour before Friday night’s AFL blockbuster against the Swans. Image: getty

But the new time has gone down even worse with Collingwood supporters, with many furious that they will miss out due to how early it is scheduled on a weekday. They are worried that most of the 80,000-strong crowd anticipated to fill the MCG for the first home game of the season, won't be able to make it there in time for the ceremony. And the Pies supporters feel that the new time does little to help and if anything just shows a lack of understanding from the club.

SEN's Gerard Whateley also took aim at Collingwood's decision, stating the crowd will look empty due to fans not being able to get to the 'G on time. "Goodness me. That’s really not going to do the trick and that’s not what it has looked like through time," he said on SEN’s Whateley on Thursday.

While MCC CEO Stuart Fox said the plans need to be revised for the unfurling of the 2023 premiership flag, suggesting half an hour before the first bounce is a more realistic time. "The game is at 7:40pm so it’ll be in that 7:15pm mark, I would think," Fox said.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: Craig McRae, Senior Coach of the Magpies addresses his players during the 2024 AFL Opening Round match between the GWS GIANTS and the Collingwood Magpies at ENGIE Stadium on March 09, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
After winning their first flag in more than a decade last year, McRae says Collingwood are anything but complacent in 2024. (Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"I think 6:15 is probably too early. We’ll have a chat to Collingwood today, I think it needs to be a little later. History shows that people do tend to turn up late, particularly on Friday night. I’d hope they would push that back towards 7pm if possible."

Craig McRae says Pies are anything but complacent in 2024

After winning their first flag in more than a decade last year, McRae says Collingwood are anything but complacent in 2024. The Pies coach believes the narrow win over the Lions to clinch the premiership will inspire the side into the future.

Collingwood's premiership win saw them join Essendon and Carlton on 16 VFL/AFL flags after their thrilling four-point victory over the Brisbane Lions. The Pies have not won back-to-back flags since 1935-36 but did come close in 2011, winning the minor premiership before losing to Geelong on grand final day.

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"There's lots of stuff within the premiership that 'why would you let go' because we're going to need it again," McRae said. "We're going to need it for this next journey; there's things around connection, around the spirit, all these things that you want to carry with you. Cutting the cord is one thing, but bringing certain things that are required to bring with you is really important."

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