COLLINGWOOD key forward Dan McStay is in doubt for next Saturday’s Grand Final after being substituted out of Friday night’s preliminary final win over Greater Western Sydney with a knee injury.
The 28-year-old will undergo scans on Saturday morning with the club concerned the off-season signing has suffered a medial collateral ligament injury.
McStay had some big moments on All-Australian key defender Sam Taylor, kicking two goals and plucking a couple of strong contested marks, before departing the game in the third quarter.
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“He is going to get scans. I’m not great with the terminology. I’m not sure if it’s an MCL. We’ll get scans,” McRae said in his post-game press conference.
“I don’t want to put a definite decision on it, but I think he might be unlucky to miss out. We’ll wait and see.
“Until you really know, you put your arms around him and show love and support as best you can. That will play out pretty quickly I would have thought.”
Collingwood vice-captain Taylor Adams missed the thrilling one-point win over the Giants after straining his hamstring during match simulation last Friday at the AIA Centre.
McRae said the 30-year-old is facing an uphill battle to be fit in time, but the club will give the midfielder every chance to prove his fitness before making a decision.
“That’s going to be a watch the clock. I think every second is going to be needed. We’ll push it to the line and see how we go,” McRae said.
After losing two finals last year by single digits – the qualifying final to Geelong by six points and the preliminary final to Sydney by a point – Collingwood has flipped the script this September, defeating Melbourne by seven points in the first final before holding on by the narrowest of margins on Friday night.
The Magpies have now won 16 of their first 50 games under McRae by single digits, benefiting from constant exposure to tight finishes in big games and regular scenario practice at training.
“We are really proud of our journey,” McRae said.
“We mentioned during the week, it takes two years to get to these moments and it’s taken at least that. Even after the game I mentioned on the whiteboard, two years of doing one-on-one fight drills. We do it every session – two minutes, tick it off, two minutes, tick it off. You saw those contests in the last quarter and how much we have rehearsed those moments.
“Last year we lost a couple of close finals, but all those lessons help. We are here now and we’re still breathing. Two years of practicing scenarios: two minutes to go, we need to win. It is rehearsed for these moments. You create habits. I think we may have killed the clock for three minutes there and the ball didn’t move very far.”
Jordan De Goey produced one of the finest performances of his career, almost 12 months to the day the midfielder turned his back on free agency to sign for five more years.
The 27-year-old amassed 34 disposals, 17 contested possessions, 13 clearances – five centre-bounce clearances – five inside 50s and 463 metres gained in a best on ground performance.
“What a great game from him,” McRae said.
“I thought he set himself up for the last final unbelievably well. He trained at a level where I thought, ‘God, he’s going to tear the game apart against Melbourne’. It didn’t quiet happen.
“Sometimes you can get a little bit despondent from that, but he just went back to work. That performance doesn’t surprise me. He set himself up to play well and when he is at full flight he is a weapon.”