Craig McRae after the 2023 Grand Final between Collingwood and Brisbane at the MCG, September 30, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD coach Craig McRae has returned from a study trip in America this week to oversee a pre-season program that contains 10 new faces, including those trialling for a spot on the Magpies' rookie list.

The 50-year-old spent a week completing a leadership course at Harvard University, living on campus in Boston, around a brief trip to Miami where he met with personnel from NBA franchises Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. 

Senior assistant and midfield coach Hayden Skipworth ran the program during McRae's absence and continued to lead most of Wednesday morning's session at Victoria Park. 

After beating Brisbane by four points in the 2023 Grand Final, Collingwood secured gun small forward Lachie Schultz from Fremantle in October, amid a Trade Period where Taylor Adams departed for Sydney and Jack Ginnivan landed at Hawthorn

Schultz reported back for training with the first-to-fourth-year players and has made a seamless transition, completing every session of the pre-season to date. 

The two players Collingwood selected in the AFL Draft – Dandenong Stingrays captain Harry DeMattia and Gippsland Power half-back Tew Jiath – have also settled in smoothly since being selected at pick No.25 and No.37 respectively last month.

Tew Jiath in action at Collingwood training on November 27, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Both teenagers stood out while playing across half-back during 15 minutes of match simulation drills at the end of training, with DeMattia's leadership already on show in just his first few weeks at the club. 

Collingwood is currently trialling six players during the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP) in the form of delisted pair Jack Bytel and Brynn Teakle, VFL Magpies duo Josh Eyre and Campbell Hustwaite, Footscray captain Lachie Sullivan and VAFA star Sam Sofronidis

Delisted Hawthorn midfielder Ned Long also joined training on Wednesday after signing with the Magpies' VFL program for 2024. The 194cm midfielder isn't an official train-on player at this stage, but is set to train with the AFL squad across the pre-season after being cut in October following five games for the Hawks. 

Former Bomber Eyre has made an early impression during his trial with Collingwood but will need to prove his durability across the summer if he is to land another AFL opportunity, following hamstring injuries across 2023, the first that ended his trial with St Kilda last SSP. 

Sullivan, 26, joined the program last week and stood out during the match simulation drills late in the session as he searches for an elusive shot at the next level, following a 2023 campaign where the inside midfielder won his second straight best and fairest, claimed the VFL Coaches MVP Award and finished third in the J.J. Liston Trophy. 

Lachlan Sullivan runs with the ball during the VFL semi final between the Footscray Bulldogs and Box Hill Hawks at Box Hill City Oval. Picture: Morgan Hancock/AFL Photos

All-Australian defender Brayden Maynard sweated it out away from the main group, completing a running block around the boundary of the Magpies' spiritual home, followed by a long bike session, as he works towards a return to full training by February following a shoulder reconstruction in the off-season. 

Norm Smith medallist Bobby Hill and gun defender Isaac Quaynor trained away from the main group after pulling up sore from Monday's training session but only as a precautionary measure, while Josh Carmichael didn't train on Wednesday after suffering a concussion on Monday. 

Key forward Dan McStay arrived late in the session to watch on from the sidelines after undergoing a knee reconstruction earlier this month, having ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament at training on December 1. 

Dan McStay during the preliminary final between Collingwood and GWS at the MCG on September 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom and Jeremy Howe all didn't train on Wednesday, as planned, with the veteran trio following their own programs this side of Christmas, completing weights at the AIA Centre and dropping in and out of the program before returning in the new year. 

Collingwood has spent the first few weeks of the pre-season training away from Olympic Park due to the ground being resurfaced but is expected to return for the first session back in January. 

The Magpies will head to the La Trobe Valley on Sunday for the club's community camp across the first half of next week.