Collingwood teammates congratulate Lachie Sullivan after his debut during round eight, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

COLLINGWOOD rediscovered its mojo against Port Adelaide a fortnight ago, but Magpies coach Craig McRae says Friday night’s thrilling win over top-four threat Carlton shows how far they can go in 2024.

After levelling the ledger at 3-3 against the Power, Collingwood now has four and a half wins on the board and hasn’t lost since round two – including Opening Round – after beating the Blues by six points, eight days after the Anzac Day draw against Essendon.

The Magpies just put Michael Voss’ side away on the scoreboard, but they were clearly the better side at the MCG, registering 23 more inside 50s and laying 32 more tackles, despite missing Jordan De Goey and Tom Mitchell.


“That is a nourishing win. A couple of weeks ago I said you don’t get style points, you only get four points; we had a bit of style to tonight, I felt,” McRae said post-game on Friday night.

“There were some things in our game that we expressed ourselves, we looked really connected at times. It is not a perfect game, but I think that’s a nourishing win. That’s a deeper win than we’ve potentially had this year.

“We’re not here to go back in time and play like we did last year; that’s not us, that’s done; we want to be better. We weren’t getting +31 in tackles last year, so that’s a better version of us. It is hard to stop.”


Brownlow Medal contender Nick Daicos collected the Richard Pratt Medal after being voted best on ground following a match winning performance that included the winning goal, as well as an equal game-high 32 disposals, 16 contested possessions, seven clearances, seven tackles and 626m gained.

BLUES v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats

“What a player, what a player. I was lucky enough to watch it [the winning goal] on the phone just before. To run with that intensity that late in the game and then the finish… what an exceptional talent,” McRae marvelled after the six-point win.

“When he plays like that he is one of the best players in the competition – everyone can see that. he was hard to stop tonight. He is covering the ground. I was really, really happy with the defensive side of his game. His pressure was as good as I’ve seen it since he’s been playing with us. The other parts of his game really expressed itself on the back of that.”


Mature-age recruit Lachie Sullivan was injected into the game halfway through the second quarter after pressure forward Beau McCreery was substituted out of the game with concussion.

Sullivan, 26, made an instant impact, kicking a goal with his first kick in league football minutes after coming on the ground, before finishing with ten touches, eight score involvements – the most on the ground – five tackles and four clearances, less than three months after being added to the rookie list during the pre-season supplemental selection period.

“He has had to wait a long time for this and there is something to be said for those that have the resilience. He is an important message for some: when things don’t go your way just keep going. You just never know. Hopefully that inspires some others in the state leagues,” McRae said.

“He has been looking like and AFL player for weeks; we’ve seen that and he gets the opportunity and kicks a goal with his first kick; that gives such energy to all of us, the whole group just rises and connects. There is a lot to be said for that.”


After starting the season with four straight wins and reaching 5-1, the Blues have now lost their past two games against two sides expected to be there at the pointy end of the season, following last Saturday’s loss to Geelong.

Carlton coach Michael Voss expects Zac Williams to be available for selection next Thursday night against Melbourne despite the defender being subbed out of the game in the third quarter due to a glute issue.

“He had a tight glute so at this point in time we felt that is all it is. He was restricted in his movement, so he got subbed,” Voss said on Friday night.

“I think he should be fine for next week but lets wait until we get the scans back.

“It looks like we’ll get a couple back next week with Jack Martin and [Caleb] Marchbank and [Mitch] McGovern, so there is a few to come back over the next couple of weeks.”