CHAOS is the McRae way.

Collingwood is a renewed, energised football team under new coach Craig McRae. A simplified approach, mixed with a little messiness, has the side's youngsters bouncing and has the club enjoying its first 2-0 start in nine years.

Although the sample size of life under McRae is relatively small, the results of a modern and streamlined style are already beginning to show. The Pies are playing a more direct, territory-based game and are embracing some scrappiness along the way.

McRae, being a disciple of Damien Hardwick at Richmond from 2016-20, has unsurprisingly involved several elements of what has made the Tigers one of the League's modern powerhouses into his work at the Pies.

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The team has abandoned the short-kicking approach of years gone by and has instead adopted a mentality of going long and forward at every possible opportunity. From there, the chaos ensues.

Champion Data notes that Collingwood has gone from being the No.1 short-kicking team in 2021, to No.15 this year. Conversely, their kick-long percentage has risen from 36.4 percent last year (ranked No.18 in the competition), to 45.3 percent this year (ranked No.4).

Of course, the fact the Magpies are no longer erring on the side of caution with their ball use has subsequently seen their mark numbers dip dramatically from 107.3 per game (ranked No.1), to 79.5 per game (ranked No.16). But it's paying dividends on the scoreboard.

In tallying 15.10 (100) against St Kilda and 15.12 (102) against Adelaide, Collingwood reached triple-figure scores in consecutive rounds for the first time since weeks eight and nine of the 2019 season. The tally of 100 points against the Saints was just the second time the Pies have reached the landmark figure in their last 46 games.

Collingwood kicked forward at a rate of 88.8 per cent last year (ranked No.14), and is now doing so at a rate of 91.5 per cent (ranked No.6) under the new leadership that is being driven by McRae. That, in turn, has seen the inside-50 differential rise from -6.3 (ranked No.16) last year, to +5.0 (ranked No.5) in this season's first two rounds.

It's a simple, but effective approach. It's also one that a number of sides, not just Collingwood, have seen yield immediate results this season. Geelong, Hawthorn and Gold Coast have also started the year profiting from a more direct route to goal.

With the ball going long and deep more frequently, pressure players can feast on the havoc caused by a dirty entry. The example in this department has been set by young and old, from Beau McCreery and Jack Ginnivan to Steele Sidebottom and Jamie Elliott.

The buy-in from such players – evidence by Sidebottom's incredible workrate over the weekend – is reflected by the club's tackle differential rising from +0.5 (ranked No.11) last year, to +8.5 (ranked No.2) so far this season. That increase in pressure has also resulted in reward for effort on the scoreboard.

Brodie Smith is tackled by Steele Sidebottom during the round two clash between Collingwood and Adelaide at the MCG on March 26, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Collingwood ranks No.1 for scores from forward-half intercepts this season and No.4 for total forward-half intercepts. Last year, it ranked No.15 and No.17 respectively in those two categories.

Scores per inside-50 entry have also significantly improved, with Collingwood rising from a rate of 42.1 percent last year (ranked No.14 in the League), to 48.1 percent this season (ranked No.6).

Tougher tasks will lie ahead for McRae and his new-look Magpies outfit, starting this weekend with a clash against the Cats at the MCG. But the club can be confident in its new coach's modern and fast-paced approach.

Craig McRae and Scott Pendlebury celebrate Collingwood's round one win over St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on March 18, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

That confidence was perhaps best reflected by Collingwood's captain, Scott Pendlebury, when speaking of McRae's impact after the side's round one victory over St Kilda a fortnight ago.

"He's been embracing the imperfections of the game. We want that. We want a chaos game. It's a bit of a new brand for us, but we're embracing it and we've got so much growth to go."