Collingwood fans have spotted John Noble's devastating reaction during a team talk with coach Craig McRae after the Pies' win over Melbourne in last week's qualifying final. Noble was dropped by McRae in a brutal selection call, despite the defender playing every game of the regular season in 2023.
It snapped a run of 83 consecutive games for Noble, which marked the seventh-longest ‘active streak’ in the AFL. It was also the longest streak in AFL history to result in a player being axed for a finals game.
Noble had been one of five Magpies players to feature in every game this season, but was left out of the win over the Demons. The 26-year-old could be seen being consoled by captain Darcy Moore at training, before having a long conversation with fellow young gun Nick Daicos.
"It's hard, good players are going out of the team," McRae said after the game last Thursday. "He's significant getting us to this moment, 'Nobes'. Tough decisions need to be made, it comes with a heavy heart."
Noble put on a brave face for the cameras at the MCG on Thursday night, as Collingwood beat Melbourne to advance to the preliminary finals. But a behind-the-scenes clip posted on Collingwood's Twitter page showed how devastated the defender was after the game.
Sitting alongside Isaac Quaynor, Noble looked extremely glum as McRae heaped praise on his teammate. Noble then dropped his head and looked towards the floor as Pies players clapped and celebrated Quaynor's performance.
“Geez this is heartbreaking,” one fan commented on the video on Twitter. Another wrote: “The look on John Noble’s face makes me feel sad".
Johnny Noble, gotta feel for him. pic.twitter.com/OO08G1yXnB
— LaurieHolden (@3orangewhips71) September 13, 2023
Poor Noble , he exemplifies everything Fly is talking about too
— Yash Kumar (@YashK05) September 13, 2023
Noble looks stoked!
— Cameron B (@Cbarresi1) September 13, 2023
Collingwood to get Nick Daicos back for preliminary final
Noble will find it hard to break back into Collingwood's 22 for the preliminary final, with Daicos set to return from injury. Daicos has been sidelined since suffering a hairline fracture in his knee in round 21, but has gradually been building towards a return and hit the training track solo on Wednesday.
McRae admitted Daicos would have been underdone if the Pies had a game this week, but the 20-year-old is firming for a return next weekend. "Probably would have played (this week), he's progressing really well, but now he gets another week of training and loading and whatever that looks like," McRae said.
"He said it was the worst two hours of his life watching the game. But he's a great player. So any time you can welcome back your best players...you saw what happened we bring Darcy Moore and all of a sudden someone else falls in line. He's certainly going to be a valuable player when he comes back in a couple of weeks."
Daicos' brother Josh said is confident Nick, who averaged 31 disposals and kicked 18 goals before his injury, will hit the ground running when he returns. "He's just been super professional with his his rehab and obviously wants to come back so bad,' Josh told AAP. "It's the best time of the year, finals. He was very optimistic about it and attacked rehab. So yeah, he'll be ready to go."
Brayden Maynard is available after being cleared by the AFL tribunal over his hit that knocked out Angus Brayshaw. Moore had a lighter week at training after reportedly having a cast on his right hand this week as he manages a tendon issue. It is not expected to affect the star defender's availability for the preliminary final.
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