Collingwood called out over 'disrespectful' act as AFL erupts over Jack Higgins goal

St Kilda condemned the Magpies to their worst start to a season in 25 years.

David King has criticised the 'disrespectful' play of some of Collingwood's biggest stars, amid controversy over Jack Higgins' late game-sealer for St Kilda on Thursday night. Collingwood slumped to 0-3 for the first time in an AFL season since 1999 as the Saints scored a 14.10 (94) to 12.7 (79) win at the MCG.

However the win didn't come without controversy after a late goal to Higgins caused uproar. The St Kilda gun appeared to take the ball out of bounds just before getting his kick away, but the umpires allowed it.

Jack Wiggins, pictured here kicking a controversial late goal against Collingwood.
Jack Wiggins kicked a controversial late goal as Collingwood slipped to 0-3 on the AFL season. Image: Channel 7/Getty

The Pies were on the charge at the time and had reduced the margin to 14 points, but Higgins' goal put the game out of reach. Former Collingwood player Brian Taylor said in commentary for Channel 7: “Higgins was out of bounds, I thought he was out of bounds. Long kick is a goal. But I thought he was out, umpire said play on and it’s a goal.”

Craig McRae concedes Collingwood weren't good enough

Plenty of others were fuming on social media, and while Collingwood coach Craig McRae said some calls went against them, he admitted his side weren't good enough to win anyway. There are serious concerns for the reigning premiers after losses to GWS, Sydney and St Kilda to start the season.

It marks the first time in 25 years that the Pies have started a season 0-3, and is conclusive proof they're in the dreaded 'premiership hangover'. The Magpies weren't helped by a 30-15 free kick count, but McRae said some of those frees against his team were justified.

"That's a big number, isn't it, and the crowd felt that. We love them for that," he said. "But some of that stuff is real. We're tackling too high ... again, that's fundamentals.

"You can see fundamental skills that are just sloppy, rusty, clunky. There are a lot of fundamental errors that we're making, from experienced players, that you wouldn't expect.

"We have some of our best players, and some of the most decorated players you've seen in the game, are somewhat ... we're all in this. It's time to get busy, isn't it."

Collingwood players look on after their loss to St Kilda.
Collingwood are 0-3 for the first time since 1999. (Getty Images)

AFL greats rip Collingwood over 'disrespectful' play

Some of the Magpies' biggest names have been responsible for their worst errors. Steele Sidebottom and captain Darcy Moore - two heroes of last year's premiership - were among those who looked out of sorts against the Saints.

“Collingwood, to be brutally honest, weren’t prepared to put their bodies on the line like St Kilda were.” Jason Dunstall said Fox Footy after the game. Leigh Montagna added: “To be fair, some of the veteran senior players just aren’t quite the same.

"Some of their veterans - who have been so good for them for so long - they just haven’t come to the party to start the season. They don’t look invested, that’s obvious ... They don’t look anywhere near as tough as what we saw last year.”


King said some of the commitment and effort levels of the Pies players was "disrespectful". “I don’t know if they’re as invested in this method of defence, or this pattern of play anymore,” King said. “They’re looking for easy kicks ... they look jittery.”

“It’s a really disrespectful way of playing, it really is. When it fails, it looks really poor - I don’t know whether they paid the price on offence or defence.”

with AAP