Nick Daicos is shaping as the red-hot favourite to win the Brownlow Medal this year after another extraordinary performance in Collingwood's win over Essendon on Anzac Day. The 20-year-old won the Anzac Medal as best-on-ground after booting two crucial final-quarter goals and racking up 40 disposals to help the Magpies to a 13-point comeback win at a packed MCG.
In the last six weeks, last year's Rising Star winner has elevated himself to Brownlow Medal favouritism, with AFL fans and commentators in awe of his display against the Bombers. Down by 28 points at three-quarter-time, Daicos helped the Magpies storm home with 7.2 to 0.3 in the last term to steal a classic Anzac Day clash 13.12 (90) to 11.11 (77).
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Daicos finished with a whopping 40 possessions, but it was his two vital goals in the last quarter that truly earned him his first Anzac Day Medal. In just his second season, the 20-year-old has been prolific in almost every game he has played this year.
His first goal, an instinctive effort in the square, cut the deficit to 10 points. His second, when he kicked truly on the run, wheeled away and shushed Essendon's fans, put Collingwood in front by two points - a lead they wouldn't relinqish.
"It's an amazing feeling. It's hard to explain," he said. "When I kicked the second one, I was in a weird situation where I really wanted to get up and about and celebrate it but I also knew the task we had at hand.
"In the last quarter just feeling us push and push and push, and the fan base coming along with us, it's just so special. It's something I'm sure I'll cherish for so many years."
— Lace out (@laceoutofficial) April 25, 2023
Speaking on Fox Footy after the game, Collingwood great Nathan Buckley said: “He makes the game look simple and that’s what all the guns do. He makes the simple decisions and does the ordinary extraordinarily well.
“That little banana that he did, if you watch that in slow-mo the way he was able to place that ball. He was unfussed, under pressure but executed it perfectly.”
Even rival coach Brad Scott was left in awe at Daicos' abilities at age 20. “I think he’s just a very special player who is doing things that someone in the system for 10 years can’t do,” Scott said in his post-match press conference.
“But we all knew this coming through. We all watched him as a junior. The father-son rule has worked for a few clubs over the journey and we think it’s a really good rule.
“He’s having a huge influence and teams have tried different things to try and curtail it and he finds a way to get around it. He’s always going to get the ball.
"You can do your best to stop it, but he went from the 18th-ranked player on the ground at three-quarter time to the first or second by the end of the game. That’s just a quality player stepping up at the right time and we couldn’t match it.”
Give Nick Daicos the Brownlow now. What an absolute freak. #AFLPiesDons
— Ryan Fitzgerald (@FitzySA) April 25, 2023
WHAT. A. SUPERSTAR 🖤🤍🌟
Absolutely enjoy watching him play. Incredible goals as well to go with 40 disposals 😍
— JAKE 🇦🇺 (@IncrediblyBozza) April 25, 2023
Can’t believe how lucky we are to have had Peter Daicos and now his 2 sons. Incredible. What a joy to watch them after watching their Dad ❤️
— 🎤Jimmy VanZeno🎤 (@VanZenoJimmy) April 25, 2023
What a privilege to live in the Nick Daicos era.
— Mel B 🖤&🐠 (@_M3L_B) April 25, 2023
Brownlow. on 13-15 votes right now.
— Shaun (@iNSANITY_AUS) April 25, 2023
I’m not a Pies supporter, but I don’t understand how people hate on Daicos even after today? If it was so easy getting 40 and 2 and getting 30+ every week why isn’t everyone doing it? The kid is insane, surely we can sit back enjoy? Stop being jelaous. #AFLPiesDons @CollingwoodFC
— Matthew English (@Matt_English8) April 25, 2023
— Rosa Deverell (@rosadeverell) April 25, 2023
Nick Daicos reveals chat with father spurred his masterclass
Daicos revealed how some words of wisdom from his famous father Peter sparked his Anzac Day masterclass. "During the week Dad actually grabbed me for a chat, which was really nice," he said after the game.
"He said, 'As long as you're pleasing yourself and the club, they're the only two things you should focus on'. So that meant a lot to me and I'm very grateful for him for that.
"I always talk to Dad about my footy and he talks to me and gives his opinion. I'm standing in front of you today with this award because of him, he's taught me so much.
"He frequently checks in on me, and during the week it was one of those occasions, just sometimes he can notice I might be a bit moody. Dad knows me better than anyone and he'll check on me, which I appreciate more than I can put into words."
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