Originally from Adelaide, South Australia, Craig McRae played his junior football for Glenelg in the SANFL. He was drafted to the Brisbane Bears in the 1994 National Draft, making his debut in 1995 and playing every game that season.
Known for his ability to rove, tackle, and hit the scoreboard, the respected forward played a key role in Brisbane’s 2001, 2002 and 2003 Premierships.
He retired at the end of the 2004, having represented South Australia in State of Origin, Australia in International Rules Series, and named in Brisbane Lions Team of the Decade from 1997-2006.
Following his retirement, at the end of 2007 McRae stepped in as a Development Coach at Richmond which saw him promoted to the Senior Coach of Richmond’s VFL team, Coburg, within a year.
In 2010 Craig went back to Brisbane as a Development Coach with Brisbane’s QAFL team the Suncoast Lions, however returned to Melbourne 12 months later taking up the position of Head of Development at Collingwood. He remained at Collingwood for five years, before returning to Richmond in 2016.
Craig was a large part of Richmond’s successful period between 2017 and 2020, acting as an AFL Assistant Coach and the VFL Coach including overseeing the club’s 2019 VFL Premiership. He has won a number of awards such as AFLCA Development Coach of the Year (2012), VFL Coach of the Year (2019) and AFLCA Assistant Coach of the Year (2019).
Ahead of the 2022 season, McRae was named Head Coach of the Collingwood Football Club, and in 2023 he took the club to the peak of AFL winning the 2023 AFL Grand Final.