Nick Daicos under fresh fire as 'timid' moment raises eyebrows around AFL world

The Collingwood young gun is being called out after their loss to St Kilda.

Footage of Nick Daicos being shrugged off by Mitch Owens is raising alarm bells around the AFL world, with Collingwood copping heat for some 'timid' efforts against St Kilda. The Magpies slumped to 0-3 on the season after a 15-point loss to the Saints on Thursday night, the first time they've started this poorly since 1999.

Plenty of questions are being asked about Collingwood's commitment and effort in all three losses, and the same issues reared their ugly head again on Thursday. A number of veteran players have been well below their best, and are clearly suffering a premiership hangover.

Nick Daicos, pictured here being brushed off by Mitch Owens.
Nick Daicos was brushed off by Mitch Owens a little too easily. Image: Getty/Channel 7

But young superstar Daicos has also failed to fire, and an embarrassing effort early in Thursday night's game has come in for heavy scrutiny. Daicos appeared hesitant to put his body in the firing line in a feeble attempted tackle on Owens, who brushed his opponent away with ease before kicking downfield.

Kane Cornes takes aim at 'timid' Collingwood players

The Saints got the ball to the forward square and were awarded a free kick, which they converted into a goal for a 31-19 lead. “Nick Daicos was timid last night. I know that’s a criticism he probably hasn’t copped much through 50 games and it’s really tough to single him out, because he’s been as consistent as anyone,” Kane Cornes said on SEN radio on Friday.

“But he was timid in the contest. He missed tackles, he fumbled and he was jumpy. Jordan De Goey is jumpy. Steele Sidebottom goes back with one hand instead of putting his full body there and costs them a goal. Darcy Moore is just missing a spoil because I don’t think he genuinely wants to put it all on the line.

Nick Daicos and Mitch Owens.
Nick Daicos has failed to fire so far in 2024.

“The word ‘soft’ is synonymous with AFL football. I would never say that an AFL player is soft that crosses the white line – but they were timid. That is about as big a criticism as you can get as a team. You can go back and you can watch a significant number of efforts where Collingwood players were jumpy and timid.

“They didn’t really want to have contact last night … they didn’t want to feel the heat. They coughed up fundamentals and we’re talking fundamentals in the contest where they’ve been so strong. You won’t win finals if you’re not strong in the contest and they couldn’t handle the heat from the Saints. It’s not soft, but there’s not the ability to sacrifice your body for the betterment of the team.”

AFL greats highlight glaring issues for Collingwood

Jason Dunstall echoed those thoughts on Fox Footy after the game, saying: “Collingwood, to be brutally honest, weren’t prepared to put their bodies on the line like St Kilda were." Leigh Montagna said: “To be fair, some of veteran senior players just aren’t quite the same.

"Some of their veterans - who have been so good for them for so long - they just haven’t come to the party to start the season. They don’t look invested, that’s obvious ... They don’t look anywhere near as tough as what we saw last year.”


Collingwood coach Craig McRae said his side simply aren't getting the fundamentals right. "You can see fundamental skills that are just sloppy, rusty, clunky," he said. "There are a lot of fundamental errors that we're making, from experienced players, that you wouldn't expect.

"We have some of our best players, and some of the most decorated players you've seen in the game, are somewhat ... we're all in this. It's time to get busy, isn't it."