Collingwood legend Peter Daicos has predicted the club will play it safe with son Nick and hold him out of the first week of the AFL finals. Nick Daicos suffered a fractured kneecap three weeks ago that looked set to rule him out until deep into the Magpies' finals campaign.
But the club revealed recently that Daicos was "ahead of schedule" in his recovery, and coach Craig McRae went as far as to say he wasn't ruling him out of Collingwood's qualifying final against Melbourne on September 7. But considering the loser gets a second chance, the Magpies can afford to take a conservative approach with the 20-year-old Brownlow Medal fancy.
Speaking on Wednesday at the TAB finals launch, Peter Daicos predicted the club would do exactly that and hold Nick back another week. "It's only a personal (view) but I don't think he will be playing," Peter Daicos said. "Had it have been an elimination final then there's a lot more thinking going into rolling the dice with that.
"But there's a bigger scalp to be had here and we've got to have our players trying to get to the end of the season. Maybe with 'Fly' (coach Craig McRae) it's about keeping his spirits up and keeping him going, but he's doing the work and he's keen to get back."
If Collingwood manage to beat Melbourne, they will advance straight to the preliminary final in the third week of the finals, meaning it would be seven weeks between games for Daicos. "I've got no problems with that," Peter said. "One of his good attributes is his hard running and if that came off a little bit he's still going to be up there.
"You've got the interchange and how he's utilised ... one of the things the coaches have shown is the management and positioning of their team. I can't see that being a problem."
Nick is just 45 games into his career but has drawn considerable scrutiny and pressure this year. Peter said "I cringe at times" about the level of external expectation on his son.
Nick Daicos 'up against it' to play in first week of AFL finals
Despite missing the last three games, Daicos is still equal-favourite to win the Brownlow with Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli. "I would've loved (his chances) more had he have played the last three weeks," Peter said.
"(When it comes to voting) everyone has their personal slant of who had an impact and who did well. You'd like to think he's up there, he's had a fine year, but who knows where the voting will end up."
Speaking on AFL 360 on Tuesday night, McRae conceded Daicos is "up against it" to be fit for the clash with the Demons. “I did text him yesterday with his squad announcement for the All-Australian and he said: ‘I’ve ticked another box today’,” McRae revealed. "Every day seems to be a positive in terms of his improvement and I won’t see him until Thursday. We’ll see how that’s progressing then.”
When asked if he was planning for Daicos to be unavailable, McRae responded: “No, I don’t like to put ceilings on anything. Nick’s a remarkable kid in terms of the way he prepares himself and his professionalism. I don’t want to to put a ceiling on it, but I think there is a level of he’s going to be up against it to make it in time. But I don’t want to put that barrier in front of him.”
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.