’Done everything possible’: Daicos nears return

Josh Daicos has his “fingers crossed” brother Nick will be able to take the field in next week’s preliminary final after a difficult period training alone.

The Brownlow Medal contender was again put through a solo running session on Wednesday as he pushes through his recovery from a hairline fracture in his knee.

The isolation on the track had been “tough” for the star but he wasn’t tiring of the extra sessions as he approaches a return, Josh Daicos said.

“He’s actually not (sick of it), he’s pumped to be back running after a few weeks of not having it – I think he really took for granted just how good it is to be healthy and to be a part of the group,” Daicos told reporters on Thursday.

“He’s done everything possible to put himself in the position to play, so fingers crossed he’s playing next week.

“It’s definitely been tough for him, he loves being part of the group … but I think the Melbourne weather’s turned it on for him a little bit and made it a little bit easier for him to get out there early and running … and he’s running really strongly at the moment.”

Daicos said his fellow All-Australians Nick and captain Darcy Moore, who currently has his hand in a cast to manage a wrist tendon issue, would benefit from the earlier Friday night preliminary final should the Magpies advance to the decider.

“Darcy is going really well, it’s an injury he has been managing for a while now and obviously hasn’t affected his play with the way he’s been performing,” he said.

“The extra day obviously would all help us recover from the preliminary final.”

He said Collingwood players would watch the semi-finals closely this week, with a group to attend Friday night’s Demons-Blues clash at the MCG before checking out next week’s opponents in either Port Adelaide or GWS on TV.

“It’s been a great week, obviously we spent the first couple of days really enjoying that win against Melbourne,” Daicos said.

“It gave us the chance to have a week off, reset … we’ll watch some football this weekend, see who we’re playing and get ready for what will be a really big prelim game.

“We’ll be going as spectators just purely to enjoy it. We might pick up a couple of things but it will be a really cool night.”

Daicos said he was not concerned after recording his lowest possession count of the season in the qualifying final, managing only 14 disposals and one tackle on the wing.

“It was so much fun, I might not have had the impact individually but as a team we were awesome,” he said.

He said teammates welcomed the tribunal’s decision to clear Brayden Maynard after the first-quarter collision that left Angus Brayshaw unconscious for two minutes.

“We know that Brayden’s a really fair player, and we were quite happy with the decision knowing that his intentions were always pure,” Daicos said.

“It was tough … our thoughts are with Angus, and we hope he has a really speedy recovery.”

Originally published as AFL 2023: Nick Daicos close to prelim return after ‘tough’ solo training

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