A month into his first foray into senior coaching, Mark McVeigh says he’s ready for a senior gig but is fully supportive of the GIANTS casting their net wide in search of the club's next permanent leader.
With a two-win, two-loss record since taking over from Leon Cameron, there’s been a noticeable lift in a GIANTS side playing with renewed dare, aggression and excitement in their game.
That may have come at the expense of their defensive acumen with an average points against of 93 over that period.
But it’s a stretch of games that has solidified the former Essendon champion’s view that he’s now well set-up for the full-time post.
“I definitely feel ready. It’s only been a four-week snippet, but I felt like I’d done a lot of work to get here, whether you’re good enough, well we’ll wait and see but I certainly feel like I’m ready,” McVeigh said.
“Whatever happens with the coach next year I fully support the club. They’re going to make sure they interview the right people, which is absolutely right, and they’ll come out with the right person.”
While the likes of Alastair Clarkson and Nathan Buckley are reportedly at the top of the queue for the vacant GIANTS post moving forward, a win against an in-form but embattled Collingwood side at the MCG on Sunday would only serve to enhance McVeigh’s standing.
“I haven’t picked a team to try and boost my credentials, I think that would be the wrong mindset. I’m not that kind of person. I’d like to think I’m pretty humble and making sure I’m doing the best thing by our players and our footy club,” he said.
“If I was thinking the other way, I’m probably not the best person for the role. It’s obviously about winning, I want to win but we also want to play our players in their best position.”
“My main role is to make sure our club is in a really good spot come the end of the year and right now, it’s not where it needs to be.”
The GIANTS' defensive issues are set to be given some much needed assistance though, with McVeigh stating veteran Phil Davis is a "big chance" to return to the side for his first game since round two, where he suffered a hamstring injury.
2019 best-and-fairest winner Tim Taranto, who along with Davis featured in the VFL last week, is also set to be included after missing a month with a back injury.
But the GIANTS will likely have to rely on former Pie Lachie Keefe to do the ruck-work against his old side, potentially along with Kieren Briggs.
Matt Flynn will miss again through injury while Braydon Preuss has been suspended for the third time this season, this time for a heavy tackle that left Tim English suffering concussion symptoms.
“We need to continue to make sure his technique is right. We love his intent and aggression, but the finishing piece of that tackle needs to be better, and he understands that. It’s not intentional it’s just a moment in the game he had to get right,” McVeigh said.
The absence of their two first-choice rucks will make for a unique mix in that department to take on a Collingwood side that has won its last four in a row, but will go into the game besieged by a week dealing with the Jordan De Goey saga.
“The big club they are, they know how to handle these things. They’ve been through some difficult times throughout their history, so we expect the best of Collingwood. They’ve been in red-hot form and have been able to play some really exciting footy,” McVeigh said.
“Their supporter base will come out and support them through a difficult time and we expect a really challenging game and that’s what we’re after. We hope there’s 50-60,000 at the MCG and we want to go head-to-head with them, we can’t wait.”