Collingwood premiership coach Craig McRae never meant to reveal that his daughter had been born on the morning of the Grand Final.
The Magpies claimed the club’s 16th VFL/AFL Grand Final triumph and its first since 2010 in a scintillating 12.18 (90) to 13.8 (86) victory over the Brisbane Lions.
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Just two seasons ago, the Pies finished 17th but have returned to the penthouse under McRae, becoming one of the most exciting teams in the competition.
The excitement was palpable for the Magpies at full-time, but it was extra special for McRae.
Speaking after the game, McRae dropped a bombshell, revealing his first daughter with wife Gabrielle had been born on the morning on the game.
Already a father of Chelsea and Charlie from his previous marriage, McRae couldn’t have been prouder.
“Today was always already the best day of my life,” he told the crowd of 100,000 spectators.
“My wife gave birth to a little girl this morning at 7.45am.”
“So darling, I‘m coming home tonight with the cup. I love you.”
But McRae has since revealed that he didn’t mean to drop the bombshell.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 on Monday night, McRae said he was still emotional about Maggie’s birth.
“It’s such an incredible thing, it’s just the joy,” McRae said.
“If you’re lucky enough to be a father and you have this baby in your hands and the tears and the appreciation for what my wife did and continues to do, and how special this moment is.
“And then wiping the tears away for two hours and then I’ve got to go to the grand final. It’ll be a day that will never be repeated.
“I’m a private guy and my family is really private. This is how private we are — I said ‘I’m not telling anyone today that we’ve had the baby’.
“And then I thought ‘maybe I’ll tell the players’. So then I told the players and there’s footage of me going a bit silly in the room. And then after the game I’ve told the world and she goes ‘what happened?’.”
He added it was just the euphoria of winning the premiership.
But Mark Robinson asked if telling the players released some of the tension of playing in a Grand Final.
“It did feel like the room was full of energy and it just filled it with a bit more joy,” McRae said.
“To play competitive sport in a space of stress can be hard. To play competitive sport in excitement and a joyful place, what a place to live if you can get there.”
McRae had said similar at the Magpies fan day on Sunday telling the crowd his wife said: “What have you done?” before joking “I’ve got to take a few things back”.
Speaking after the game the Pies coach revealed he got a call early on Saturday morning telling him to get to the hospital, as well as revealing his new daughter’s name is Maggie.
“My wife’s incredible. She went into labour yesterday afternoon, didn’t tell me, she just said she wasn’t feeling very well,” McRae told Channel 7.
“I got a phone call this morning about quarter to six saying ‘you better get to hospital, this baby’s coming’.
“Amazing day, it’s already the best day of my life – it just seems to have gotten a bit better.”