Nick Daicos' sweet exchange with a young fan in a wheelchair at the grand final has been praised around the AFL world, with Dylan Alcott labelling it "inclusion done right". The victorious Collingwood players were presenting with their premiership medals by young Auskickers on Saturday, as is tradition after the AFL decider.
A young boy in a wheelchair was chosen to present Daicos with his medal, and he was mic'd up to catch their lovely exchange. After Daicos asked the boy how he was going, the youngster draped the medal around his neck and said "you should be very proud".
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Daicos replied “thank you so much, I appreciate it", before roaring with delight in front of 100,000 fans. Aussie wheelchair tennis champion Alcott, who happens to be a Carlton fan, was in attendance at the grand final.
He posted video of the moment on social media in which he zoomed in on the young boy. “Best part of the granny for me,” Alcott wrote on Instagram. “Inclusion done right.”
Alcott, who was named Australian of the Year for 2022, retired from tennis after finishing runner-up at the Australian Open in January. The 32-year-old represented Australia at the Olympics in basketball and tennis, and completed a 'golden slam' in 2021 in which he won all four tennis grand slams and Olympic gold.
An AFL press release revealed the boy to be James Nguyen. It said: “James is a massive Collingwood fan and is very proud of what they’ve been able to achieve this season."
The sweet moment between James and Daicos lit up social media, with former Collingwood player Tony Shaw writing: “How good was the interaction (between) Nick Daicos and the wheelchair kid. I shed a tear." However many suggested Shaw's use of the term 'wheelchair kid' could have been better.
Collingwood players called out for snubbing Auskick kids
Unfortunately for Collingwood, not every player paid as much attention to the Auskick kids as Daicos did. TV viewers noticed Beau McCreery, Mason Cox and Darcy Cameron all failed to shake their respective kid's hand, with McCreery copping the majority of the heat for appearing to be more concerned about his celebration.
— Sports 💭 (@SportTalkAUS) September 30, 2023
“Beau McCreery thinking more about doing his little ‘call me’ schtick instead of shaking the kid’s hand,” one person wrote on social media. Another fan said: “I felt sad for the kids who didn’t get a hand shake. You guys have plenty of time to celebrate. Show a bit of class ... but loved the majority of players who took the time to do it (and some fist pumps).”
Beau McCreery hanging the little kid out to dry. Gave him donuts. There's always one. Still doesn't beat Daniel Chick in 2006 ripping the medal out of a kid's hands and putting it around his own neck. #AFLGF
— Brad Henderson (@bradhendosports) September 30, 2023
Mcreery leaving that kid hanging to do some weird flex for the cameras probably wasn't the best look....
— Tequila Scooter Miss 🤷 (@tazmos7) September 30, 2023
There’s always one, Beau McCreery with the blunder of the presentation. #AFLGF
— Matthew Stone (@stone1_matthew) September 30, 2023
I hope the first call Beau McCreery gets after that celebration is from his mum so he gets an ear bashing for snubbing the kid's handshake! #AFLGF
— Andrew (@TheStaceus) September 30, 2023
The same thing happened last year when Geelong player Tom Stewart inadvertently snubbed a young girl in the presentation. Stewart didn't realise the girl had offered him a handshake after presenting him with the medal, with the Cats star raising his arms into the air and inadvertently fresh-airing her.
To make matters worse, he also didn't realise he'd knocked the youngster's hat off. He later apologised and said he would make amends.
“I got a bit overwhelmed and a bit excited and ended up knocking the hat off her head," he said. “If anybody knows her and would like to reach out on my socials I’d really appreciate it.”
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