Steeled Collingwood primed for AFL premiership tilt

Defender Brayden Maynard knows exactly what's different about this Collingwood team's premiership tilt: they're actually ready for it.

The Magpies enjoyed a dazzling run to the preliminary final in Craig McRae's first season in 2022 but fell desperately short of a grand final berth.

A year on, McRae's charges are minor premiers and believe they belong in the league's upper echelon.

"We are a lot more prepared this year than last year," Maynard told AAP. 

"I felt like we were running on a lot of adrenalin last year."

Nick Daicos's stunning move into the midfield, and Jordan De Goey and Josh Daicos kicking up a gear have all helped Collingwood's rise.

But former skipper Scott Pendlebury has consistently cited the "body of work" the Magpies have put in since last season's preliminary final heartbreak as the foundation of this year's outstanding campaign.

Veteran defender Jeremy Howe agrees.

"We didn't really set a limit on where we could get to last year because we were trying to find out what our best footy looked like," Howe told AAP.

"We feel like we really uncovered a pretty strong game plan and everyone got on this emotional ride and felt really good. We won 10 or 11 in a row and away we go. 

"But then this year was, 'There's expectation, teams are coming for us, where's it going to get to?'. 

"The 12 months (before) we laid a foundation of where to start from. 

"Now we're starting right up here. So let's just tighten the screws and see if we can get better. 

"To the boys' credit, and the coaches', the way that the pre-season rolled out, the way that the year's unfolded ... to finish top is really pleasing.

"It's affirmation for what we've been able to do in the summer and in the season. The main stuff starts now."

McRae earned plaudits last year for building a culture in which players were encouraged to express themselves.

Winger Josh Daicos reckons that's only grown amid a seamless captaincy transition from Pendlebury to Darcy Moore.

"It's a really great environment where everyone can be themselves," Daicos told AAP.

"Everyone has a great time walking through the doors ready to get to work. We love seeing one another.

"We've just got a real clarity out there about what we need to do for one another and what it takes to win."

Defender Isaac Quaynor makes Collingwood's September plans clear.

"We're here to go all the way," he said.

Maynard is certain Collingwood has the mettle to do it.

"We have such a great connection and bond in this whole group. I don't feel like I've had this sort of relationship and connection with as many teammates in the past," Maynard said.

"I absolutely love this group and I feel like we are going to cause some serious damage because that's the main thing: playing for each other.

"And we play harder for longer."

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store