Nick Daicos and Jordan De Goey called into question amid AFL backlash around Darcy Moore

Two of Collingwood's best players have been put under the microscope.

Darcy Moore has copped some intense scrutiny around the AFL world this week, but according to Leigh Montagna it should be midfield guns Nick Daicos and Jordan De Goey in the spotlight. Kane Cornes took aim at Moore on Monday, saying the Collingwood captain has been in 'awful' form and not doing his bit to help his side.

But Montagna highlighted some damning vision on Wednesday night that showed Daicos and De Goey not tracking back properly and inadvertently putting more pressure on the Pies' defenders. The St Kilda great showed a number of clips of the Magpies midfielders remaining goal-side of the ball during 50/50 contests in their loss to the Gold Coast, and not getting back to defend when the ball didn't fall their way.

Nick Daicos and Darcy Moore in action for Collingwood against the Gold Coast.
Nick Daicos was caught goal-side on a number of occasions. Image: Getty/Fox Footy

Montagna also showed Daicos and De Goey not tracking their opposition players properly, allowing the Suns to get free and kick key goals. "From my point of you it’s the defensive aspect of their game. They’ve conceded 100 points three of the last four weeks - that ain’t going to get it done in finals," Montagna said on AFL 360.

“When you take a bit of a deeper dive – obviously points against has been an issue, they’re not winning the ball back through the midfield, they’re not winning contested ball (particularly through the midfield), they’re allowing the opposition to move the ball from one end of the field to the other, and that is putting their defence under pressure. There’s a lot of talk around their defence, but I want to put it fairly and squarely on the Collingwood midfield, because they’re the ones for me at the moment that I don’t think are getting it done defensively, and I think they’re playing a little bit of lucky dip footy. There’s a little bit too much of ‘we’ll go our way, you go your way, and we’ll see who wins the footy'."

Nick Daicos, pictured here failing to track back on Touk Miller.
Nick Daicos didn't track back on Touk Miller. Image: Fox Footy
Jordan De Goey, pictured here not marking up on Sam Flanders.
Jordan De Goey didn't mark up on Sam Flanders. Image: Fox Footy

Montagna suggested De Goey and Daicos “just might not be doing the work they were doing last year" when Collingwood won the flag. “They’re just taking liberties at the moment – they’ve got time to correct it – but I think this is what Craig McRae’s seen, and why he’s getting frustrated,” Montagna said. “I reckon he’s hitting the midfielders fair and square in the eyes, and saying ‘let’s play a bit more honest footy, that will keep us in the game – that’ll mean we won’t have to play catch-up.’”

Collingwood slipped to sixth on the AFL ladder with their loss to the Suns, and they might be without Josh Daicos when they face Essendon at the MCG on Friday night. Daicos suffered a corked calf in the 11-point loss to Gold Coast and appears unlikely to face the Bombers.

"Unknown at the moment. He's a race against the clock," coach McRae said of Daicos. "So Josh, he still looks a little proppy for my eyes but I'm getting told that we'll give him every opportunity. So we'll give him every chance to get to the line. Time will tell. It's just a bit more movement, potentially a bit more treatment (that would allow Daicos to play)."

Josh Daicos and John Noble, pictured here at a Collingwood training session.
Josh Daicos and John Noble at a Collingwood training session. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

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McRae admitted Moore hasn't been at his best but backed his skipper to fire back. "Darcy and I catch up regularly and funnily enough, last week we had a really good deep and meaningful (chat) on the couch about lots of things," McRae said.

"We want Darcy at his best. He's clearly not playing at a level where he has previously - last year he was an All-Australian and he's not in All-Australian form. But we back him in, support him and look for little ways we can improve him. We're not gonna stand still because we need him to be at his best."

with AAP