De Goey can take Magpies to a new level: McRae
Collingwood coach Craig McRae knows his AFL ladder leaders can reach even greater heights.
Explosive midfielder Jordan De Goey, the second-year coach says, is the man to take them there.
"I loved Jordy's game," McRae said after Sunday's 65-point belting of GWS.
"I said to him after the game it was just exceptional decision-making.
"He's not the cream on the cake but he can take us to another level when he's at his best.
"We saw major parts of that today."
De Goey had a huge say when the game was on the line before half-time and finished with 31 disposals, 10 score involvements, seven clearances and a goal.
But he still wasn't the most influential player on the ground, with that honour falling to Mason Cox.
The 211cm ruck-forward starred in his second game back from a lacerated spleen, dominating the aerial battle against Matt Flynn.
Ash Johnson has served as a capable back-up in the ruck, leaving McRae with a selection headache as he tries to reintegrate No.1 tap-man Darcy Cameron.
Cameron, who has missed six weeks with a knee injury, is set to put his hand up for a comeback in the huge clash with Carlton in round 10.
"Darcy's going to be available for selection and we'll just have to weigh up what that looks like, but it's pleasing," McRae said.
"Ash Johnson had moments in the ruck today and against Brisbane really stood out in the aerial contest. He's really found another level.
"Through circumstance, other guys have been given opportunities and that's given us flexibility."
Nathan Kreuger (ribs) is also in the mix to return, while key defender and part-time ruckman Billy Frampton (groin) is another week or two away.
Cox's best performance since the 2018 preliminary final was the highlight of Collingwood's fifth-straight win as the thrashing of GWS sent the Magpies a game clear atop the ladder.
The American cult figure lifted the crowd with a series of contested marks and two goals, including a bomb from 50 metres that brought out some of his trademark swagger in a finger-wagging celebration.
"We know he's at his best when he's bringing that, and when the chants from the crowd are 'U-S-A' you know he's at the top of his game," McRae said.
"We're pretty short ... and to have someone that's having an aerial presence is an important part of the game.
"As finals come, if you're lucky enough to make it that far, everything's a bit more of a contest.
"You're going have to go down the line more and for Mason to mark the ball, it's important for us."