Nick Daicos and Bailey Smith photo sparks AFL fan frenzy around Collingwood switch

Rumours are swirling that Magpies young gun Daicos is on a recruitment mission.

Nick Daicos and Bailey Smith.
Nick Daicos and Bailey Smith have been living it up in New York. Image: Twitter/Getty

Photos of Nick Daicos and Bailey Smith together in New York have left Collingwood fans convinced that the latter is poised to join the Pies. Western Bulldogs star Smith revealed last month that he was heading to the States and would be training with Daicos in a bid to turn around his patchy on-field form.

“Heading off to New York soon so it’ll be good to do a few training sessions over there with Nick Daicos,” Smith told 7NEWS. “That’ll be super fun. Just doing what I can do without overdoing it mate. Enjoying it.

“I think something where we’ve got a lot of room to grow in AFL is appreciating great players as they come along. I love watching his (Daicos) journey and then to be able to work together over this off-season will be amazing. Hopefully, I can have a year like his next year."

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However fans are convinced that the red, white and blue might be the black and white of Collingwood in the not-too distant future. According to leading AFL reporter Jon Ralph, Smith is an "80 per cent chance" to leave the Dogs and become a free agent at the end of 2024.

Bailey Smith, pictured here at a training session with the Western Bulldogs.
Bailey Smith at a training session with the Western Bulldogs. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

And Pies fans reckon Daicos and Smith's journey to New York puts them in the box seat to snare the gun midfielder. Photos of the pair in the Big Apple have been circulating on social media, with many believing Daicos is on a recruitment drive.

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Smith has played down suggestions he wants out of the Bulldogs, saying he is “very committed” to the club for next season. “I just want to keep fuelling the fire there. I just want to go all the way, so the red, white and blue is the best place to do it,” he previously told 7News.

Ralph reported that Smith's future at the Bulldogs relies on him improving in 2024. "The onus is on Smith to work his butt off to improve his kicking and on-ball craft so (coach) Luke Beveridge simply has to give him more centre bounce opportunities," Ralph said. “Then he can either stay on a significant deal or explore the market at the end of 2024."

Speaking on the Tradies Podcast, AFL journalists Mitch Cleary and Sam McClure said Collingwood, Essendon and Geelong are leading the race to secure Smith's services. “Geelong would be the most obvious fit," Cleary said. "Their midfield with (Patrick) Dangerfield, (Cam) Guthrie and their age demographic."

Kane Cornes also said Smith would fit in well at Geelong. “I think Geelong is the right home for him, they’ve taken a risk on players like Tyson Stengle with really good results," the Port Adelaide champion said. "He’s a hard worker and I think he fits in perfectly (at Geelong)."

But Bulldogs CEO Ameet Bains previously played down speculation that Smith could be on the outer, saying he's a "required player". Caroline Wilson said the Dogs have grown frustrated with Smith considering he's on big money but hasn't been justifying it on the field. “There is huge frustration with him, he’s on a huge amount of money, he’s clearly a very high maintenance player, there’s several clubs looking at him, Collingwood and Hawthorn as well as Geelong," Wilson said.

Smith's lacklustre form has led to a reduction in game time in 2022. Captain Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore, Adam Treloar and Jack Macrae were all preferred over him.

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