Brownlow Medal favorite Nick Daicos will miss six weeks with a broken knee, sidelining Collingwood’s young gun until well into the AFL final series.
In the massive fallout from Saturday’s shock loss to 16th-ranked Hawthorn, the ranking-leading Magpies have also lost defenseman Nathan Murphy for two to three weeks with an ankle injury.
Daicos was hurt in the second term of Saturday’s twilight game at MCG when Hawthorn’s Finn Maginness took him out of the game.
The prolific ball winner only had five turnovers per game, well below his usual output.
Daicos’ right knee buckled awkwardly when Hawthorn’s James Blanck hit it during Collingwood’s loss on Saturday.
Collingwood football chief Graham Wright said the younger of the Daicos brothers has a minor fracture to the lateral tibial plateau of his right knee joint.
“Nick was seen by a specialist knee surgeon this morning and although this will thankfully not require an operation, he will need time to heal before he returns to football,” Wright said in a club statement.
“At this stage, the expected lead time for Nick is six weeks.”
Murphy, a mainstay on the Magpies’ defense, finished the game on the bench with Daicos after needing help from the field.
Wright said Murphy was diagnosed with a low-grade syndesmosis injury in his right ankle.
“Nathan and Nick have played important roles this season, they are consummate professionals and will do everything they can to progress their rehabilitation,” Wright added.
The Brownlow Medal favorite was knocked out of the game by Hawk Finn Maginness and easily had his worst game of the season.
Daicos’ injury came three days after he and his older brother Josh signed long-term deals to stay with the Magpies.
After getting hurt in the second period, the young Daicos was crushed in a collision with Hawthorn defenseman James Blanck early in the third quarter.
With the young gun clearly not at his best, Collingwood sent Daicos on the attack throughout the second half and eventually brought him to the bench to finish the game.
While Collingwood remains at the top of the ladder, injuries to Daicos and Murphy add to successive losses to Carlton and Hawthorn.
It’s the first time the Magpies have lost two in a row since rounds eight and nine of last season.
Each week, opposition coaches are asked how they plan to stop Nick Daicos, whose previous lowest disposals in a game this season had been 27.
While Maginness claimed a great scalp, Hawthorn’s trainer Sam Mitchell said it wasn’t easy.
I would love to tell you that it was easy. It is an absolute nightmare,” she said.
Daicos (right, sitting next to teammate Tom Mitchell) finished the match on the bench
In another blow to the Feet, defenseman Nathan Murphy (pictured assisted from the ground at the Hawks game) will be out for up to three weeks with an ankle injury.
‘In the coaches’ box, it’s a nightmare. We have a meeting before the game, a “what if” meeting.
“I would say 30 to 40 percent is ‘okay, what if Daicos starts here, does this, does that?'”
What was certain was that Maginness had a bandage.
‘Daicos is an absolute star. But Finn, I was so proud of him,” Mitchell said.
Magpies coach Craig McRae acknowledged Maginness but was asked if Daicos had enough support from his teammates.
Certainly, the Magpies fired up when there was a scuffle early in the third period, which led directly to a double goal when Daicos was given a free kick before the ball went back up the middle.
But McRae said it was an “interesting question” if overall the young Daicos had enough help to beat Maginness.