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McRae pleased with Pies despite AFL loss

First-year coach Craig McRae has taken a positive view of Collingwood’s performance in the heartbreaking AFL defeat to Geelong as he seeks to embed a new attacking game style.

The Magpies piled on nine goals in a third-quarter onslaught and led by 30 points at the final change before conceding seven majors without reply in the last term.

The 16.8 (104) to 13.13 (91) defeat at the MCG on Saturday night was McRae’s first since taking the reins this season.

It came after the Magpies kicked consecutive triple-figure scores in wins over St Kilda and Adelaide over the opening two rounds.

“I wasn’t sure we’d pick up the game style this quick but we’ve been really competitive and again tonight you saw our style,” McRae said.

“You come watch us play and you go, ‘Wow, this is an exciting brand, the pressure’s really high’.

“You know how we’re trying to play and we’ve got to try to do it for longer but I think ultimately the players, after tonight, feel like they can trust the system and it works.

“In these games, even though you don’t get the result, there’s a level of belief in what we’re doing is right.”

Collingwood were ranked 18th for inside-50s under Nathan Buckley and caretaker Robert Harvey last year and have put an emphasis on winning territory battles this season.

“We’re taking on more contests and being a little bit more chaotic but it’s a highly taxing game plan,” McRae said.

“We’ve got a young group and we might have to just evolve a little bit and see if we can manage some of that energy to get us through the four quarters.”

McRae eased injury fears over experienced wingman Steele Sidebottom, who had gastro during the week and suffered cramps late in the match.

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