Nick Daicos celebrates with fans after the match between Gold Coast and Collingwood at Heritage Bank Stadium in round 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

CRAIG McRae has sent an ominous warning to Collingwood's competitors, saying the Magpies will use the next few weeks to set up their season after destroying Gold Coast on Saturday night.

The Pies were as blistering as they were clinical in dashing, temporarily at least, the Suns' final dreams with a 78-point trouncing at a sold out Heritage Bank Stadium.

And if McRae's words are anything to go by, there could be more to come.

SUNS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats

Collingwood, already the competition leaders, will be bolstered by the return of suspended Jordan De Goey next week, with Dan McStay (finger) to play VFL on Sunday and Steele Sidebottom (knee) just two weeks away.

"We're using this period in particular to set ourselves up," McRae said.

"We've set our sights on a few weeks here, we want to step in.

"It's a difficult time of the year, it is. Good teams stand up and some maybe don't.

"We're really conscious of that and got our sights set on the next few weeks."


The Magpies play the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium next Friday night, followed by Fremantle (MCG), second-placed Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval) and Carlton (MCG) in the next month.

From the outset against the Suns they were devastating, winning the ball in tight and spreading with ease to run the home team ragged.

Not surprisingly, McRae beamed when asked about the performance.

"It was really pleasing. Anyone watching from home could see our attack of the ball was really strong and that sets foundations for other parts of our game to come into it," he said.

"We knew coming in they were a really good contest team and we'd have to bring our A-game and we certainly did that."


McRae's Gold Coast counterpart Stuart Dew was left with more questions than answers after his team was humbled for the second time in three weeks.

Dew was after some information facing the top team, and he got it. Unfortunately, it was all negative.

"We got taught an absolute lesson tonight," he said.

"They're the number one team in the comp and we couldn't go with them.

"It's a disappointing night."


Dew said the lack of resilience that had been on show as little as a month ago – in turning around hefty deficits against the Bulldogs and Adelaide to win – was puzzling.

"We need to find out why is it different," he said.

"By and large it's the same group of players.

"The inconsistency of when to choose to show resilience or to choose to not, regardless of who the opposition is and what challenges come at you.

"If you want to play high pressure footy, you've got to put up a better effort than that. We have to have a good, hard look at it.

"It just leaves us with questions to why when pressure comes some weeks we can handle it, fight our way back and why, like tonight, we didn't.

"There's nowhere to hide, and we won't.

"The only choice is to respond. We're here to compete. We didn't tonight and we have to next week."