Hawthorn have provided an emphatic answer to the question around how to contain Collingwood's Brownlow Medal favourite, Nick Daicos. That's the opinion of former Port Adelaide star Kane Cornes, who said the suggestion Daicos was 'un-taggable' was brutally exposed by the Hawks in a 32-point AFL boilover at the MCG on Saturday night.
The shock loss for the ladder-leading Pies - their second in a row - was compounded by an injury to Daicos, who suffered a knock to his knee and failed to finish the contest. Collingwood defender Nathan Murphy also fell victim to an ankle syndesmosis injury in the 16.9 (105) to 11.7 (73) defeat.
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The back-to-back defeats are the first for the Pies since round nine last year, although they still have a two-win cushion at the top of the ladder after suffering just their fourth defeat of 2023. Hawthorn's shock triumph came off the back of an impressive display from tagger Finn Maginness, who nullified the impact of Collingwood young gun, Daicos.
Maginness helped restrict the 20-year-old to a career-worst five disposals, which was just the third time he's been kept to fewer than 20 disposals in an AFL match. Speaking on AFL Media’s 'The Round So Far', Cornes said he couldn't understand why more teams didn't invest more time into dedicated taggers like Maginness.
“I can’t believe we have 44 spots on an AFL list, and Hawthorn is really the only team with a dedicated tagger,” the dual All-Australian said. “You must get one or develop one because you need one at some stage. It’s not every week, but he’s shown the importance of this.
“Hats off to Finn Maginness because people were saying through three quarters of this season this man is untaggable. Well that’s rubbish and more teams should try and do the same.”
Kane Cornes slams Collingwood 'arrogance'
Cornes suggested that Hawthorn had provided a blueprint to the rest of the AFL about how to defeat a Collingwood side considered strong favourites for the premiership in 2023. In a scathing assessment of the performance from the ladder-leaders, he also accused the Pies of "arrogance" after they failed to address the threat of Hawthorn's James Sicily, who was best on ground with 37 disposals, 19 marks and three goal assists.
“They let (Sicily) do as he pleased ... we saw how much time St Kilda put into James Sicily last week after he got a hold of them earlier on in the year,” Cornes added. “Collingwood gave him no respect and there was just a little bit of arrogance about the way Collingwood went about it. I didn’t think they helped Daicos anywhere near enough and they knew that tag was coming days out.
“Collingwood’s system is all about sticking to their own system, today that backfired. I just wonder whether there is now evidence of a blueprint on how to beat the Pies – stop them intercepting the ball in their defensive half, guard the corridor, match them in the midfield so you can give your forwards an opportunity because their defenders are vulnerable and bring that ferocious pressure.”
Magpies midfielder Tom Mitchell also ended the game on the bench with what looked like a corked thigh, but Collingwood said he was not injured. Collingwood have a five-day break until they play Geelong next Friday night at the MCG, with games against the Lions and Bombers to complete the regular season.
Collingwood coach Craig McRae says Daicos and Murphy will have scans on their injuries, with the hopes they're not too serious. "There's more than the four points lost here today. There will be a couple of players chasing the clock to get up," McRae said.
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