Collingwood's brilliant AFL gesture for Craig McRae's brother-in-law after awful revelation

The Magpies coach revealed before the win over Melbourne that the brother of his wife is doing it tough.

Darcy Moore was spotted in a touching gesture after Collingwood's win over Melbourne on Monday, after coach Craig McRae revealed before the game that his brother-in-law has motor neurone disease. The Magpies beat the Demons in the annual 'Big Freeze' game on the King's Birthday, which serves as a fundraiser for the FightMND charity.

The 'Big Freeze', which sees celebrities slide into a pool of icy water, was pioneered by former Melbourne coach Neale Daniher - who has become the public face of MND in Australia since he was diagnosed in 2013. Nine celebrities hit the icy water at the MCG on Monday, raising money for FightMND to fund research into a cure for the disease.

Craig McRae with wife Danielle, and his brother-in-law with Collingwood players.
The brother of Craig McRae's wife Danielle was invited to sing the team song with Collingwood. Image: Channel 7/Twitter

Speaking before the game, Collingwood coach McRae revealed the fundraiser took on extra significance last year when the brother of his wife Gabrielle was diagnosed with MND. “Unfortunately, this time last year my brother-in-law - my wife’s brother - got diagnosed with MND. It’s really close to home for us,” he told Channel 7.

Craig McRae and brother-in-law Patty.
Craig McRae and brother-in-law Patty before Collingwood's clash with Melbourne. Image: Getty

After the game, Magpies captain Moore produced a classy gesture for McRae's brother-in-law Patty, inviting him into the team circle to sing the song. “We’re missing someone," Moore said. "Pat, get in here."

Patty's face lit up as he linked arms with Moore and Jeremy Howe - showing just how much the gesture meant to him. Howe said Patty had inspired Collingwood to their 38-point win.

“He came in and shared his story with us yesterday,” Howe told Triple M after the match. “He’s an amazing man, that’s the first time I’ve ever met him but you get instantly drawn to him and his outlook on life is really good. I think everyone is inspired by Neale so a lot of people taking a positive outlook on it. He’s got two beautiful kids as well and he’s a good man and we thought we’d get him in for the song."


Speaking last week, McRae opened up about how important family is at Collingwood. It was epitomised by the fact Oleg Markov was allowed to miss the Pies' Round 11 game against Fremantle to attend his brother-in-law's wedding.

“I definitely want my family to be first and I say that to our players as well," McRae said on SEN radio. “Oleg Markov goes to a wedding a couple of weeks ago. (We say) ‘family first mate, if you think this is important to you, you do it'.

“I think that stuff pays you back. We talk about winning on the scoreboard, we’ll be criticised or rewarded. That scoreboard is our feedback and the industry wants us to win.

"But I and we at Collingwood want to win at all levels, so we have better husbands, better fathers, so Oleg becomes a better brother for his brother-in-law, whatever it looks like. There’s always a line - performance versus family - I get that. But when there is an easy choice, we’re choosing family.”

When asked if he's managed to strike a good balance between work and his own family, McRae responded: “No, I’m working through that. Whether escape is the right word, but finding an ability to not be the Collingwood coach for five minutes, I’m still looking for that.”