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The sky’s the limit for flying Magpies, says coach Craig McCrae

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Coach of the year favourite Craig McCrae says after 11 wins in a row, Collingwood are still to discover their upper limit, and he wants Jordan DeGoey to be there as they go in search in the years to come.

“We don’t know where our ceiling’s at,” McCrae said after yet another nail-biting come-from-behind win, this over reigning premiers Melbourne in an MCG blockbuster. “That’s exciting. We’re in a discovery mode. We’re finding out where we’re at. That’s an exciting place to live.”

McCrae cited Beau McCreery and four-goal fourth gamer Ash Johnson as examples. “Beau comes in at half-time. He hasn’t had a touch,” he said. “In the last quarter, the last five minutes, he had more pressure points than half our team. And he kicked a goal.

“We’re not a mature group. But we’ve got youth. That’s Ash’s first game in front of a big crowd like that. So to go back and execute his skills like that … we’re learning on the job. Beau McCreery, Jack Ginnivan, Ash Johnson, they’re learning on the job. It’s an exciting place to live.”

But it would not have been possible without the excellence of DeGoey, who is out of contract at season’s end and the subject of much speculation.

“He’s a free agent. It’s his right to explore his options,” McCrae said. “Speaking authentically, I’d love Jordy to stay. That’s going to create a headline. Nights like tonight are a good example of his assets. He makes us better.

“It was his best game for the year. I thought he was a star. We couldn’t get the ball out of centre bounces. We got smashed in there again. He just shrugged his shoulders and swagger to get out of traffic.”

McCrae said he was pleased that Collingwood were able to vary their gameplan when Melbourne kept cutting them off at the pass in the first half, and with his team’s composure in the last quarter.

“This group’s got some belief, hasn’t it?” he asked rhetorically. “We just get ourselves into positions where at three-quarter time, there are some smiles on a few faces. It was here we go again. It’s just been our story.”

But he urged realism. “We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. If you look at the stats sheet, there’s a lot of red in it,” he said. “We’re not naive, we’ve got a lot of work to do. I think we’ll just live in the moment for now.



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