Daicos lays out new Magpie plan

AFL Rd 3 -  Brisbane v Collingwood
Nick Daicos says he will have to being his A-game. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Collingwood star Nick Daicos says he expects to start in a midfield role in Saturday’s crunch match against Port Adelaide as Scott Pendlebury’s availability remains clouded.

Daicos said Pendlebury still had “a few boxes to tick” to prove his fitness after suffering a rib fracture against Hawthorn before the Magpies’ bye.

The Collingwood veteran could be crucial against a Port Adelaide midfield unit that had been dominant until it was matched by Fremantle in the Power’s three-point win on Saturday.

Daicos was coy on whether he expected to lock horns with Power stopper Willem Drew in a head-to-head battle but said he hoped to continue in an on-ball role as he did against Hawthorn despite attention from Finn Maginness.

Port regretted dropping an early tag from Lachie Jones on Daicos in round 2 last year, as the star Pie racked up 32 disposals and two goals in an emphatic 71-point win.

“Good midfield aren’t they? Star-studded midfield and they all bring an X-factor: pace, agility,” Daicos said on Monday.

“We’re going to have to be on our A-game, and I’m hoping it’s going to be a great battle.

AFL Rd 4 - Collingwood v Hawthorn
Scott Pendlebury hurt his ribs against Hawthorn. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“I probably see myself more as a midfielder, so I like to think that’s where I’ll be starting, but I’m open to playing anywhere.”

Daicos said Pendlebury’s fitness remained unclear as he was optimistic the Magpies were showing “glimpses” of their DNA in their 2-3 start to the season.

“It’s an interesting one, I think he’s got to prove his fitness this week,” he said.

“He’s probably got a few boxes to tick with training and whatnot, but he’ll give himself every chance. He’s the ultimate professional, and someone we all look up to.

“It’s a long season, we want to hit our stride by the right time of the season, and we think we’re building nicely … hopefully that continues.”

Daicos joined Collingwood teammates at the Magpie Nest cafe in Melbourne’s CBD on Monday as the players served breakfast to people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.