David King singles out Collingwood guns in fresh swipe at struggling AFL premiers

The AFL great has turned the heat on a number of Collingwood stars.

David King has singled out a number of underperforming Collingwood stars in a brutal swipe at the struggling AFL premiers. The Magpies will have to defy 49 years of history if they hope to claim back-to-back flags in 2024, after St Kilda inflicted a third straight loss on the defending premiers to start the season.

No club has started a season 0-3 and gone on to win the AFL flag since North Melbourne in 1975 and 2022 premiers Geelong finished a lowly 12th last season after also losing their first three. Collingwood's worrying form has led to plenty of scrutiny on a number of stars, particularly the Magpies' senior players.

On the right is AFL great David King and Collingwood captain Darcy Moore on left.
AFL great David King has singled out a number of underperforming Collingwood stars including captain Darcy Moore. Pic: Getty

King highlighted some of Darcy Moore's defensive errors in the previous loss to Sydney and was again critical of the Pies skipper after the St Kilda defeat. Jordan De Goey and Brayden Maynard also copped criticism over their contentious high-fiving incident in the loss to Sydney.

Collingwood's commitment and effort has been questioned after all three defeats, with footage of young gun Nick Daicos being shrugged off by St Kilda's Mitch Owens leaving fans in a frenzy on social media. King says the incidents are indicative of a bigger problem at Collingwood and suggests motivation is lacking for the players after their grand final win last year.

“It’s easy to see isn’t it that it just doesn’t mean enough to the Pies’ players anymore,” King said on SEN radio. “It did in 2023, it did in 2022, every minute of every game the ball was as hot as hot and they would close space and they would make it impossible for the opposition to function in real time and it was awesome to watch.

“But in a lot of ways teams have mapped out exactly what they’re doing and now they’re comfortable with it. They’re handling it. And I don’t know if it’s as big a win in 2024 as what we’re talking about.”

The Kangaroos legend and two-time premiership winner then singled out a number of Collingwood's underperforming senior players for specific criticism. He suggested the Pies weren't playing as a "team" and put the onus on several Magpies stars to drive the standards and get the team back on the right track.

David King critical of several Collingwood stars

“I don’t know if they’re the same product anymore. Because I saw so many players not really buying into absolute ‘team’,” King added. “And some of their better players. We’re not going to talk about the also-rans because they’re not really leading the way.

“The guys that are leading the way, Darcy Moore, Nick Daicos, Scott Pendlebury, Jack Crisp – they’re all off. They’re all off. Steele Sidebottom. There’s so many of the top-liners that have just become six-out-of-10 commodities this year.


“And it’s alarming, it’s shocking, I didn’t think this was going to happen. There were no signs of this through the pre-season. But they have fallen through the floor.”

King's criticism came after Collingwood's players were called out for their effort against St Kilda, with Nick Daicos singled out by Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes. “Nick Daicos was timid," he said on SEN radio. "I know that’s a criticism he probably hasn’t copped much through 50 games and it’s really tough to single him out, because he’s been as consistent as anyone.

On the right, Nick Daicos is easily brushed off by Mitch Owens.
Nick Daicos was easily brushed off by Mitch Owens in an incident called out across the AFL world. Image: Getty/Channel 7

“But he was timid in the contest. He missed tackles, he fumbled and he was jumpy. Jordan De Goey is jumpy. Steele Sidebottom goes back with one hand instead of putting his full body there and costs them a goal. Darcy Moore is just missing a spoil because I don’t think he genuinely wants to put it all on the line."

Jason Dunstall added: “Collingwood, to be brutally honest, weren’t prepared to put their bodies on the line like St Kilda were." Leigh Montagna said: “To be fair, some of veteran senior players just aren’t quite the same.

"Some of their veterans - who have been so good for them for so long - they just haven’t come to the party to start the season. They don’t look invested, that’s obvious ... They don’t look anywhere near as tough as what we saw last year.”