COLLINGWOOD'S search for Nathan Buckley's replacement is down to four candidates and the Magpies could lock in their new AFL coach within two weeks.
Brisbane premiership hero Craig McRae has emerged as the favourite to win the coveted role after former Adelaide coach Don Pyke pulled out of the race this week.
Four-time Hawthorn premiership coach Alastair Clarkson also closed the door on being involved in the AFL in 2022, opting to take a year off following his exit from the Hawks.
Robert Harvey has been Collingwood's caretaker coach since Buckley departed in June, but McRae, who has served as an assistant with the Magpies, Richmond, and currently Hawthorn, is now well positioned.
Port Adelaide assistant, and former Brisbane coach, Michael Voss, Richmond's Adam Kingsley and West Coast's Jaymie Graham are also reportedly in contention.
Magpies football boss Graham Wright admitted COVID-19 restrictions had made the process more difficult and drawn-out than normal.
"We've been really privileged to talk to four or five really good assistant coaches that have really impressed us," Wright told 3AW.
"It's going to be a difficult decision but one that hopefully we're only a week or two weeks away from making."
Ross Lyon was an early candidate for the Magpies' job but the former St Kilda and Fremantle coach ruled himself out of contention.
Wright said he reached out for Lyon's telephone number but talks never eventuated.
Lyon is now the red-hot favourite to secure the Carlton coaching job after the Blues on Thursday confirmed their sacking of David Teague.
"I didn't actually speak to him one-on-one and Ross made it pretty clear he wasn't going to be part of our process and that's fair enough," Wright said.
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Wright also flagged Collingwood's interest in out-of-contract Melbourne forward Sam Weideman.
His comments come on a day the Magpies announced highly talented draft prospect Nick Daicos has committed to joining the club as a father-son selection, as expected.