Collingwood coach Craig McRae has spoken for the first time on the Jordan De Goey saga since footage emerged of the Magpies star partying in Bali.
The Pies and De Goey have been in the headlines since footage emerged on Friday of De Goey pulling on a female’s T-Shirt and making unsavoury gestures toward the camera.
Amongst plenty of speculation, the club handed down their verdict on De Goey on Tuesday, handing the 26-year-old a $25,000 suspended fine on good behaviour.
However, he was not suspended.
Upon first finding out about the video, McRae said he endeavoured to find the facts first. Less than 12 months earlier De Goey was held in a New York Jail on an assault charge before being released, creating a similar media storm to what unfolded with De Goey in Bali.
“I think many of us have learnt from the New York situation around Jordy is we just want to get all the facts, figure out what’s going on here,” McRae told *SEN’s The Run Home.
“I made some phone calls around to get some more details on that and I didn’t really have an emotion (when I first found out), I must admit, (I was more just), ‘let’s get the facts and find out what’s real’.”
In McRae’s first year at the club, the management of De Goey has been a constant talking point in 2022.
News emerged on Wednesday that De Goey would miss Sunday’s clash with GWS on personal leave, and McRae admitted the midfielder was not yet in a place where he could return to the club.
“I knew he was going to Bali and I’ve got (my former coach) Leigh Matthews in my head a lot… Leigh used to say to us, ‘we’ll treat you like men and well give you trust, and you act like men. We treat you like boys, then you’ll act like boys’,” McRae added.
“I want all our players to feel there’s a level of trust to make their own decisions, and some are going to make good ones and some are going to make poor ones at times.
“I’ll also say I live in a moral compass world where I want to take accountability for my own actions.
“I take responsibility for things I do right and wrong… funnily enough, my moral compass fits with Collingwood’s moral compass. We’re on the same page.
“You make a mistake – which we all do at times – take accountability and we give our players the opportunity and possibility to take responsibility for their actions.
“So I wanted to say that first.”
McRae continued: “In Jordy’s case, I can’t help but think right now I want to get him back.
“I do, I want to get my arms around him. I spoke to him yesterday, he’s not in a place to step back into the footy club right now. He’s got to step through a few things first and get in a space where he can do that, but it’s a safe space for him in our footy club and I want him to feel loved and supported.
“Not only him but all our players, get in our four walls, and let’s get our arms around him and help him move forward on this.
“His wellbeing is really important to us… we’re allowed to make mistakes, some make many, I think some of the best lessons in life I’ve learnt are through making mistakes and growing through it and I see this as an opportunity for all of us to grow from it.”
McRae also confirmed the club had no issues with the original decision to let Collingwood go to Bali, saying: “As long as I’m the coach, I’m not going to say, ‘you’re not going to do that’.”
He declined to talk about De Goey’s hotly-speculated contract situation, but added that he wasn’t involved in the decision on how to punish the star.
With Collingwood only out of the top eight on percentage, there were concerns the media circus could create an unneeded distraction for McRae’s side ahead of their Round 15 clash.
Despite missing De Goey – one of the club’s go-to midfielders – McRae says nothing he’s seen provides reason why they won’t put their best foot forward on Sunday.
“There’s not one piece of evidence right now to suggest this is going affect our performance on the weekend,” McRae said.
“It’s Wednesday… (but) the way the boys trained yesterday, I believe in setting ourselves up to succeed.
“A lot of things are out of your control and you’ve still got to run the race, but our players have seen a huge correlation between training form and performance on the weekend, and Monday’s and Wednesday’s training form are as good as we’ve had this year.”
De Goey is out of contract at the end of the year and it’s been reported Collingwood took their offer to him off the table following the release of the Bali footage.
St Kilda is understood to be one of a number of clubs interested in securing his services.
When asked if De Goey would be in black and white next year, McRae replied: “I’d hope so, I really do”.
De Goey has averaged 21.5 disposals, 4.6 clearances and 4.2 inside 50s through 12 games in 2022.