Collingwood have been dealt a shattering pre-finals setback, following confirmation AFL Brownlow Medal favourite Nick Daicos will be sidelined for six weeks with a fractured knee. The 20-year-old failed to finish Saturday night's match against Hawthorn at the MCG, as the Hawks stunned the ladder-leaders in a shock 32-point boilover.
The upset loss was compounded by injuries to Daicos and defender Nathan Murphy, who is also set to be sidelined for two to three weeks with an ankle injury. Daicos was hurt in the second term after being tagged out of the contest by Hawthorn's Finn Maginness. The prolific ball-winner had a career-low five disposals, before he was ultimately subbed out of the match.
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Collingwood football boss Graham Wright confirmed on Sunday that the younger of the Daicos brothers had suffered a hairline fracture in his right knee joint. The 20-year-old had been considered a strong favourite to claim the Brownlow Medal in just his second season in the AFL, with those hopes also taking a huge hit as he won't poll votes in the Pies' final three games of the season.
"Nick has been seen by a specialist knee surgeon this morning and, while fortunately this does not require an operation, it will need time to heal before he returns to football," Wright said in a club statement. "At this stage, the expected timeframe for Nick is six weeks."
Daicos's injury came just three days after he and older brother Josh signed long-term deals to stay with the Magpies. Following his injury in the second term, the 20-year-old was crunched in a clash with Hawthorn defender James Blanck early in the third quarter and was unable to finish the match.
AFL fans react to shattering Nick Daicos news
His absence is sure to be a massive blow for the Magpies, who play Geelong next Friday night at the MCG, before games against the Lions and Bombers complete their regular season. Daicos will now be in a race against time to return for the preliminary final - if Collingwood qualifies for it - with AFL fans left shattered for the star after his crushing injury blow.
Absolutely devastating for all but esp Daicos and the whole club. What a horror weekend.
People laughing about / celebrating the serious injury of a 20 year old should take a hard look at themselves.
— Holden Sheppard 🇦🇺😎💪 (@V8Sheppard) August 6, 2023
Get well soon Nick Daicos, the Magpie Army is standing with you always and praying for a speedy recovery. We can’t wait for you to come back stronger than ever, Go Pies 🖤🤍 @CollingwoodFC #GoPies #AFL pic.twitter.com/ZqFgXX7oWM
— JAKE 🇦🇺 (@IncrediblyBozza) August 6, 2023
The news about Nick Daicos certainly sucks and losing Murph is almost as important. But it’s an opportunity for someone else to step up. Premiership sides respond to adversity and this is ours. Wouldn’t want to be Geelong on Friday night 😁
— Kevin Framp (@BigKev67) August 6, 2023
Daicos out for 6 weeks.....shattered!!! #gopies
— Caroline Brooksby (@Caro_brooksby78) August 6, 2023
Shattering for Nick Daicos. As much as I’m not a fan, it’s never good to see a young player go down and miss games due to injury. Especially after the season he’s had
— Jacob PAFC (@jacobpafc) August 6, 2023
daicos missing 6 weeks genuinely makes me sad i really wanted him to win the brownlow
— hayley ♡’s tom stewart (@hayley_lawley) August 6, 2023
Six weeks out with injury is awful news for Nick Daicos. Such a great young player. Collingwood will certainly miss him.
— Skippy Johnston 🦘 (@LukeAFoley) August 6, 2023
Nathan Murphy joins Nick Daicos in the casualty ward
Collingwood will be relieved the news is somewhat better for defensive mainstay Murphy, who finished the game on the bench alongside Daicos after needing to be helped from the field. Wright said Murphy was diagnosed with a low-grade syndesmosis injury in his right ankle. "Nathan and Nick have played important roles this season, they are consummate professionals and will do all they can to progress though their rehab," he added.
Despite Saturday night's shock defeat to the 16-placed Hawks, the Pies remain two wins clear at the top of the ladder. Worryingly for Collingwood though, they have now lost two games in a row for the first time since round nine last year.
Hawthorn's stunning upset of the Magpies came after Maginness nullified the effectiveness of Daicos with a masterclass in how to tag the young gun. Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell said while he was thrilled the game plan came off, he revealed that it was anything but straightforward.
"I'd love to tell you it was easy. It's an absolute nightmare," Mitchell said. "In the coaches' box, it's a nightmare. We have a meeting before the game - a 'what ifs' meeting.
"I would say 30-40 per cent of it is 'okay, what if Daicos starts here, does this, does that?'" Regardless though, the Hawks coach conceded Maginness put in an incredible performance.
"Daicos is an absolute star. But Finn, I was really proud of him," Mitchell added.
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