Collingwood coach Craig McRae says it’s up to Joran De Goey when he’ll return to the club and that it was putting its recourses into supporting him.
De Goey took personal leave earlier this week to rule him out of Sunday’s clash with the Giants in the fallout from his Bali incident that saw him handed a club-imposed suspended $25,000 fine until the end of the season.
McRae broke his public silence on the matter on SEN on Thursday, saying he hoped De Goey would return to the fold as soon as possible so the team can “get our arms around him.”
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It comes as the Magpies have parked contract talks with the controversial star and reportedly withdrawn a $3.2 million four-year offer ahead of his free agency window.
Speaking at his first official weekly press conference since the incident, McRae said he didn’t know the detail of what caused or triggered De Goey to not be in a good enough place to return to the AIA Centre, but that he’s been in constant dialogue with the 26-year old.
“I try to keep in contact with him daily, and did that yesterday and didn’t hear back from him. Hopefully he’s in a good space and I’ll get an opportunity to speak with him today and see where that sits,” he told reporters on Friday.
Asked if De Goey had been in a good way McRae said: “No, I wouldn’t have thought so.”
The Magpies boss said he’s “not educated” to discuss how De Goey could pick himself up from the incident, but that the club’s sport psychologist Jacqui Louder was “working really closely with him”.
“We’ve got the recourses around him that we think can support him. He’s got a management team and our management team that’s trying to do what we can. Whether it’s a time thing, a day-to-day thing, I’m not sure,” he said.
“What we are here is to love and support him the best way we can. (His return) could be as early as today or tomorrow — I’m not sure. We’re guided by others and obviously himself so we’ll sit here and wait for him to come into our four walls.
“I think football clubs offer a great resource for players and in normal life you don‘t get the resources that we do to support guys like Jordan. Hopefully that’ll support him to take the steps he needs.
“We’re looking for Jordy to step in and we’ll welcome with open arms, we’re waiting to give him a big cuddle when he steps through our doors.”
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said on 3AW on Friday that De Goey’s revelation that he was diagnosed with ADHD last year was “not an excuse” for his behaviour, but that “anyone with medical conditions needs to be taken seriously.”
McRae said De Goey’s omission from the side would “present opportunities” for others to step up — much like Brodie Grundy’s PCL setback has seen the likes of Darcy Cameron and Mason Cox thrive.
And the Magpies coach ensured that his side had kept its focus on the task at hand this week despite the scrutiny that’s been on the club.
“Our group has had an ability this week to just keep an eye on the ball. We’ve got ground balls to fix and game plans to master, so we’ve put our energy into that,” he said.
“We’ve trained as good as we have this year, so in terms of preparing to play we’re ready to play and we’ve got to go out there and execute now.
“We’ve just get back to work, that’s the reality, we meet you guys at the door then we step in and get to work. We’re in a business of trying to get better … we just want to keep educating our players around little things that we can do better and be better people in the community.”
And while De Goey has been in the spotlight, McRae said he was still mindful of the whole club’s wellbeing and its diverse backgrounds.
“I’m here to represent the whole club we are really conscious of women in our environment and Indigenous people and all different backgrounds, we’ve a diverse group in here,” he said.
“It‘s not (about) one individual but one individual gives an opportunity to say, ‘hey mate, let’s have a look around and keep your eyes out and be aware of all’.”