Collingwood vs Carlton, Craig McRae press conference, Jamie Elliott goal, video, top four finish
Collingwood manager Craig McRae even admits he felt another incredible victory was a bridge too far during the stages of Sunday’s extraordinary one-point win over Carlton at the MCG.
The Blues led by no less than 25 points early in the final quarter before the Pies scored the game’s final five goals, including eventual game-winner Jamie Elliott with less than two minutes remaining.
Facing the media after the game, which saw Collingwood cement a top-four spot, a delighted McRae was almost at a loss for words.
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“I don’t know what to say, really not. Just watching this band, I am speechless,” he said.
“I can’t believe it, I really can’t, that we’ve found another way to win.
“I tried to take a few minutes by myself in a small, quiet space to take it all in, because it’s hard to realize what we just did.”
McRae said he thought a win might be out of reach early in the fourth quarter as Carlton threatened to add to their 10-goal tally but ultimately didn’t.
“Absolutely. I didn’t tell the players that, but I thought (it was a bridge too far),” he said.
“There was a particular moment when they scored (the goals) in the last quarter, I thought if they got one of those goals we were done.
“A ball rebound here and a missed shot that gives us hope. This group doesn’t need a lot of hope.
When asked how he addressed the group three quarters from time after a 43-point turnover in favor of the Blues, McRae pointed to the team’s resilience throughout the season.
“This group is probably the best I’ve ever seen at managing the moments and playing the minutes,” he said.
“It’s been consistent language, I’ve used it before the game, at half time etc. You have to play the minutes to beat us and today we showed that.
Additionally, McRae pointed to an analogy he returned to often throughout the Blitzkrieg season.
“I’m really passionate, to use this windshield wiper analogy, moving things to the side,” he said.
“A lot of things were out of our control in the third quarter. I thought the green snag was going their way with decisions that maybe weren’t there.
“Well it happens, wipe it off, stay present, move on. It was kind of take away what was and then let’s watch hey, that’s what we do, let’s be really aggressive with our movement of ball and let’s see what happens.