Leppitsch, Bolton join McRae's Magpies

Craig McRae will have a pair of familiar faces alongside him at Collingwood in 2022 after the appointment of Justin Leppitsch and Brendon Bolton to his staff.

Tigers assistant coach JUSTIN LEPPITSCH speaks to the media prior to a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Punt Road Oval in Melbourne, Australia.
Tigers assistant coach JUSTIN LEPPITSCH speaks to the media prior to a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Punt Road Oval in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

AFL club Collingwood have bolstered their football department with the acquisition of highly sought-after tactician Justin Leppitsch and fellow former senior coach Brendon Bolton.

The pair both have strong existing relationships with new Magpies coach Craig McRae, who was unveiled as Nathan Buckley's successor earlier this month, and boast premiership experience as assistant coaches.

Former Brisbane coach and Richmond assistant Leppitsch took a step back from the game in 2021 after he was one of the chief off-field architects in the Tigers' golden run of three flags in four years.

He has filled analytical roles in the media this year and was in the sights of several clubs before joining his former triple-premiership Lions teammate McRae at Collingwood.

Leppitsch will be the Magpies' head of strategy and will also coach the team's defence, while Bolton takes over as director of coaching and will work with the midfield group.

Bolton was part of Hawthorn's 2013-2015 premiership coaching group under Alastair Clarkson and worked as an assistant with McRae at the Hawks after three-and-a-half seasons as head coach of Carlton.

Collingwood general manager of football Graham Wright said the club set out to put in place a diverse group of coaches under McRae.

"With the appointments of Justin and Brendon I think we've gone a fair way to doing that," Wright said.

"We see that Justin's and Brendon's attributes complement our profile well.

"Approximately half of our list in 2022 will comprise of first to third-year players.

"The football education we provide them, therefore, will be important.

"Craig is very strong on establishing habits that will underpin a collective approach to success.

"We are all really pleased to have Brendon and Justin join the program."

Collingwood parted ways with Buckley in June after the former club captain had spent almost a decade as head coach.

This year's caretaker coach Robert Harvey has also departed since the end of the home-and-away season.