Daicos challenged by Pies great

AFL Community Series - Collingwood v Richmond
Collingwood great Nathan Buckley says Nick Daicos needs to improve his tackle numbers despite being one of his side’s best pressure players. Picture: Michael Willson / Getty Images

Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has urged Nick Daicos to improve his tackle numbers as the focus intensifies on the club’s star players.

After Craig McRae lamented “fundamental errors” by senior Magpies following their third consecutive defeat on Thursday, Buckley said Daicos’ tackling efficiency was notably down compared to last season.

Buckley said there was no doubt over the 21-year-old’s commitment to Collingwood’s defensive game but called on him to stick more tackles to help take pressure off their struggling midfield.

Daicos averaged close to four tackles per game last year but only laid two in each of the losses to Sydney and GWS this fortnight.

“The challenge I would put to him is his tackle efficiency. He was tackling at 65 per cent last year, he’s tackling under 50 (per cent) this year,” Buckley told SEN.

AFL Rd 2 -  St Kilda v Collingwood
Daicos fights St Kilda hard nut Mitch Owens for the football during Collingwood’s 15-point loss at the MCG on Thursday night. Picture: Darrian Traynor / Getty Images

“So when you get your chance to tackle, you’ve got to stick (those tackles). That might be one of the little things that Craig McRae is talking about that turns into big things.

“I’ve seen and heard questions about his buy-in to the defensive elements of the game. I would encourage anyone who watches the game – watch his third, fourth, fifth efforts to go and put pressure on the opposition.”

Buckley said Daicos could not be expected to become one of the game’s best tacklers without sacrificing his key strength of being able to keep his feet and push to more contests.

“He’s a ball player, he’s not the best tacker, because the best tacklers are prepared to lose their feet to stick that tackle,” the Magpies great said.

“He’s a ball-getter, so he won’t lose his feet to stick a tackle and it means his tackle efficiency isn’t quite as good as it could be.

“I don’t know if you ever want Nick Daicos to lose his feet because one of his greatest attributes is keeping his feet to be the outnumber at the next contest.

“I’m going to come out in defence of Nick Daicos pre-emptively … but at the same time, I’m going to throw him a challenge because I think that there are going to be some misconceptions about the way he defends, or the way he invests in the defensive side of the game.”