Why AFL coaching great Mick Malthouse made a surprise return to Collingwood

AFL coaching legend Mick Malthouse has returned to Collingwood at the club’s invitation ahead of the Magpies’ traditional Anzac Day blockbuster against Essendon.

Key points:

  • Magpies coach Craig McRae asked Malthouse to speak to the players
  • Malthouse coached the Magpies to their 2010 premiership win
  • He left the club after the 2011 season

Malthouse, who coached Collingwood to the 2010 AFL premiership, spoke to the Magpies’ playing group on Thursday.

He had accepted Magpies coach Craig McRae’s invitation after the pair caught up for coffee recently.

Malthouse, who holds the record for most matches coached in the VFL/AFL (718), endured a messy exit from the Magpies more than decade ago.

He had coached the club from 2000 to 2011. His premiership victory was his third as a coach, having also won flags with West Coast in 1992 and 1994.

“I’m really happy that Mick’s back at the footy club,” McRae said.

“In my time here under Mick he made this game [Anzac Day] really special and we’re trying to tap into his experience around that.”


McRae was involved in Anzac Day matches during his time as Collingwood development coach from 2011 to 2015, which included one season under Malthouse.

Monday’s encounter at the MCG will be his first as Magpies head coach.

A crowd of more than 80,000 is expected to attend the MCG in what would be the largest attendance at an AFL match since the 2019 grand final.

“We’re just so grateful to be part of this as a footy club.” McRae said.

“We want to do the Anzac spirit proud as well as our jumper proud.”

The Magpies, who hold a 2-3 win-loss record after five rounds, will enter the match as favourites.

But they are wary of a Bombers (1-4) side that has come under heavy criticism after a tough start to the season.




Author: Ivan Robinson