Trending topics

Select your station

We'll remember your choice for next time

The young Magpies who are impressing ahead of Opening Round selection calls


Collingwood assistant coach Hayden Skipworth liked what he saw from some of the club’s younger and fringe players in Tuesday night’s AAMI Community Series win over Richmond.

The Magpies defeated the Tigers by 30 points at Ikon Park with solid late contributions from the likes of Harvey Harrison, Fin Macrae, Reef McInnes and Charlie Dean.

Midfield coach Skipworth spoke glowingly of that group of players who have only added further depth to the squad of the reigning premiers.

“I thought the guys that came on later in the game were super,” Skipworth said on SEN Afternoons.

“Harvey Harrison came on and played a fair bit of time on the wing. He has spent most of his time as a half-forward since he’s been at the club. He did a really good job.

“Fin and Reef came on. They’ve had a really good pre-season and they impacted.

“Charlie Dean has missed a couple of years of footy with some foot issues. He came on and fit into our system really well.

“I was really happy to see that the depth of the squad is growing because we’re going to need lean on these guys this year.”

Macrae, in particular, is one young Pies player who has been the subject of plenty of attention in his quest for regular senior footy.

The former first-round draft pick came on in the third quarter and quickly amassed 10 disposals and four clearances, and his line coach has been impressed with his development.

AFLTipping24 728x90

“There would be some frustration with him at times because he’d love to be playing,” Skipworth admitted.

“He’s learning off some unbelievable and experienced mids. We’ve got Tom Mitchell, Scott Pendlebury, Jordan De Goey, Nick Daicos, Jack Crisp, Steele Sidebottom on the wing, the list runs on.

“He’s learning from some of the best, so his development is there. It’s just a matter of opportunity and his opportunity will come and I’m sure he’ll take it when he gets it.

“He’s been in the mix for basically 12 months.

“He’s right there, he’s chomping at the bit to get in and we’ll definitely need him and use him throughout the year.

“Whether it’s Opening Round or not, I’m not sure as we haven’t gone through that, but he’s certainly in the selection fold.”

In the case of McInnes, he is competing with Ash Johnson for a key slot inside forward 50 to replace the injured Dan McStay.

He did his chances no harm by kicking 1.2 from three disposals and two marks in just 36 per cent of game time.

“Before his draft year he was injured with his back, so he missed most of the year and then we had COVID,” Skipworth said of the 21-year-old.

“He needed to get his fitness levels up to AFL level. He’s got that now, his body has really filled out.

“His footy stuff was just about finding his niche and he’s found it as that deeper forward, a similar role to what Jamie Elliott plays for us.

“He’s had a really good pre-season. He, Fin, Harvey and these guys have really made a big jump. Another one is Joe Richards. They’ve really added to the pressure on the guys in the team and added to the depth within our squad.”

The Magpies will continue preparing for their Opening Round clash with GWS at Giants Stadium on March 9.

They will unfurl their 2023 premiership flag at the MCG against Sydney on March 15.


More in AFL