Daicos dazzles amid injury carnage as Pies belt Eagles

Shayne Hope |

Nick Daicos (centre) has inspired the Magpies to a 66-point thumping of West Coast.
Nick Daicos (centre) has inspired the Magpies to a 66-point thumping of West Coast.

Craig McRae has taken a light-hearted swipe at Nick Daicos’s critics after the brilliant midfielder led AFL heavyweights Collingwood to a 66-point thrashing of West Coast amid injury carnage for both sides.

As the Magpies’ makeshift forward line lost Jeremy Howe to an adductor strain, Daicos and Jack Crisp pulled the strings in a dominant engine room during a 15.13 (103) to 5.7 (37) victory at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

Daicos continued his red-hot form with 36 disposals, 17 contested possessions, seven clearances, seven tackles and a goal as Collingwood improved to 5-1-3 ahead of a clash with Adelaide.

“I think they tried to tag him in the second half but he’s just such an incredible worker,” Pies coach McRae said.

“Again he led tackles for us and he led contested possessions.

“Seventeen contested possessions – apparently he gets the easy ball.”

Collingwood's Nick Daicos.
Nick Daicos looks to launch another attack for the Magpies against West Coast. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

Collingwood secured a much-needed percentage boost, gaining nine points to push above 100 for the first time this season.

But the win came at a cost, with versatile veteran Howe, Harvey Harrison (ankle) and Jack Bytel (concussion) injured.

Howe started forward and kicked an early goal but was subbed off by quarter-time.

Collingwood were already missing first-choice forwards Jamie Elliott, Brody Mihocek, Lachie Schultz and Beau McCreery, but kicked their second triple-figure score of the season while stifling West Coast.

Finlay Macrae and Reef McInnes kicked career-high tallies of three goals each, and Bobby Hill added two more among a vast band of 10 goal-kickers.

Mature-age recruit Joe Richards impressed on debut with 1.2 and three goal assists from 18 disposals.

Daicos had plenty of support through Crisp (32 disposals), brother Josh Daicos (28), John Noble (25) and Scott Pendlebury (28) in a powerful Collingwood performance that started in the middle.

The Pies won a lop-sided clearance count 38-25, including a 16-6 annihilation at centre bounces.

Liam Duggan (27 disposals) and Alex Witherden (30) battled on for West Coast, with co-captain Duggan given the job on Nick Daicos after halftime.

Emerging star Harley Reid (17) took a spectacular early mark with a ride on Billy Frampton and teammate Jack Darling, but it was among precious few memorable moments for the visitors.

Harley Reid marks the ball for West Coast.
A huge mark from Harley Reid was a rare highlight on a chastening afternoon for West Coast. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

West Coast lost experienced defender Jeremy McGovern (ribs) and speedster Jack Petruccelle (ankle) to injuries on a dirty day.

McGovern was taken to hospital for further assessment as a third straight defeat left the Eagles (2-7) third-last on the ladder.

Coach Adam Simpson conceded his players were overwhelmed by Collingwood’s pressure and centre-bounce dominance early, but was pleased with their fight after halftime.

“We’re disappointed but we don’t think we took a step back in the sense that everything that we’ve done in the last five weeks is worth nothing,” Simpson said.

“It’s just, we played a really good side and we got touched up in the first half.

“They committed as much as they could (in the second half) and we saw a little bit of growth, but I think Collingwood probably knew the game was won and took their foot off the pedal a little bit.”