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Magpies set to appoint McRae as coach, bring in Leppitsch as right-hand man

Former Brisbane triple premiership player Craig McRae is set to be appointed Collingwood coach later this week and is poised to bring former teammate Justin Leppitsch with him to the coaching team.

McRae has been recommended by the Magpies’ coaching selection panel for the job, with their decision to be ratified after the full board meets with McRae later this week. Other details, including his contract if he is offered the job, are also to be finalised.

Craig McRae is set be announced as Collingwood’s next senior coach.

Craig McRae is set be announced as Collingwood’s next senior coach.Credit:Getty Images

Sources said McRae was eager to have former teammate and ex-Brisbane Lions senior coach Leppitsch join him at the Magpies as a senior assistant. Leppitsch and McRae also worked together as assistant coaches at Richmond in their premiership years.

Collingwood has been determined not only to find a senior coach, but to construct a coaching panel of complementary talents. Current assistant coach Hayden Skipworth is likely to remain on the Magpies’ coaching panel, along with assistant Scott Selwood who is contracted for 2022.

Caretaker coach Robert Harvey and former Adelaide senior coach Brenton Sanderson are unlikely to remain at the club.

Collingwood football director Paul Licuria told The Age when they began the search for a new coach that they would cast the net wide and not be limited to chasing a big name experienced coach.

He said he was very attracted to the idea of unearthing a “Luke Beveridge-type” who had served a long apprenticeship, had enjoyed success, had worked with young players, and fostered strong relationships. McRae fits that bill as a Luke Beveridge type.

McRae, whose nickname is “Fly”, was previously a development coach at Collingwood and has strong advocates internally for his appointment after his time there.

Since finishing playing, the now 47-year-old has spent more time as a development than a line coach. He has had extensive experience in development at Collingwood and Richmond and this reflects the Magpies’ direction with a young group in a rebuilding team.

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