McStay went down in an unfortunate incident in the Magpies’ one-point win over the Giants in the first preliminary final on Friday night, with the injury ruling him out for six weeks.
His old coach Fagan, whose Lions will face the Magpies in the grand final after their 16-point win over Carlton, shared his heartbreak for the 28-year-old, who left the Lions to join Collingwood at the end of 2022.
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”It’s your worst nightmare as a player when you’ve played with the team all year, been a solid contributor, and then you get to a grand final and can’t play because you’re injured,” Fagan said post match.
“That’s the worst thing.”
Fagan had a close bond with McStay when the pair worked together at the Gabba between 2017 to 2022, thanking the key forward for his contribution to help the Lions’ “rise” into a grand final berth.
“Our thoughts go out to him because our rise over the last seven years, he played a really important role in. He’s a bloke we all like and admire,” Fagan said.
McStay transferred over to the Magpies from Brisbane at the start of 2023, after 161 games at the Lions.
He has played 14 games for Collingwood this season, but will sadly miss the most important of them all on the last Saturday in September.
As for the Lions, who have made their first grand final since 2003, when they beat their 2023 opponents Collingwood, Fagan reflected on the journey to reach this berth.
“We were better in last year in finals, in the end we just got knocked out by champion team (Geelong),” Fagan said.
“We learnt a lot from Geelong. Playing against them in finals and playing against them in preliminary finals.
“We’ve never really ever shied away from our lessons. I know I stick up for my blokes like a mad man, but internally, we’ve always dealt with our issues.”
The Lions came from five goals down in the first quarter to take a 16-point victory over the gallant Blues to secure their spot in the big dance.
“I thought it turned slightly before quarter time. It was a bit of a scratchy start. I just showed faith in them,” Fagan said.
With a grand final ahead, Fagan has urged his playing group to “embrace” the chaotic week ahead.
“There’s a lot of things that happen grand final week, you’ve just got to embrace them,” Fagan said.
The Lions leader also had a special call out to all non-Collingwood fans.
“What I’m hoping is that those who don’t barrack for Collingwood, jump on the Lions bandwagon and get behind us. Shoutout to all those there that are not Collingwood supporters, please do that,” Fagan said.