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“We’ve got to see a fair bit more”: Champion Data pumps brakes on Pies but praises McRae


Champion Data’s Daniel Hoyne isn’t jumping back onto the Collingwood bandwagon just yet, saying, “We’ve got to see a fair bit more”.

However, he offered plenty of praise for Craig McRae and his coaching staff for being able to change their game plan on the run in response to changing trends.

After losing their opening three games of 2024 the Magpies made a statement last Saturday with a 42-point demolition of top four contender Port Adelaide to even the ledger at 3-3.

It led Gerard Whateley to lead calls that McRae’s side is back to his 2023 premiership best after an early falter.

“That was a performance so compelling and a reminder of what the standard has been,” Whateley said on Monday.

But Hoyne isn’t as convinced given the Magpies have lost their former one wood over the first six weeks of the season.

“I’m not jumping absolutely on the train that they’re back at the moment,” he told SEN’s Sportsday.

“I just want to see a little bit more first and there’s a few similarities with what Geelong were doing last year, losing their first three then they won their next three… just relax, we’ve got to see a fair bit more, albeit that was unbelievably powerful what they did in that 45-50 minute period (against Port Adelaide).

“We talked a lot on this show last year that their point of difference was their explosion and ball movement game off their back half and if they didn’t have that last year, they don’t win the flag.

“That has absolutely dissipated this year and there’s actually no one in the competition that is scoring less in the competition off their back-half ball movement than what Collingwood were.”

Hoyne suggested that change is due to the competition putting plenty of work over the pre-season into figuring out how to dismantle the Pies’ system.

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Therefore, he says, it’s a credit that Collingwood has changed the emphasis on different areas of its game plan, with new aspects already shining through.

“I think teams have gone to work on them… what I want to do is give a fair bit of praise to this coaching staff to be able to actually adjust on the run and potentially just over pre-season as well knowing, potentially, that this is coming,” Hoyne continued.

“They’ve now gone to an absolutely dominant forward half team in the competition, only Carlton are scoring more of the back of their forward half work.

“It’s their ability to be able to capitalise on their forward half turnover game that is so impressive. That’s what they were able to do against Port Adelaide on the weekend… we didn’t really see that component of their game last year, they didn’t need to given how good their ball movement was.

“But we are seeing a different Collingwood team and that performance on the weekend was absolutely brutal.”

Collingwood heads into Anzac Day against Essendon as narrow favourites, with the Bombers also coming off consecutive wins.

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