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AFL gun’s ‘greatest rookie ever’ case builds

AFL great Matthew Lloyd has praised the efforts of young Magpie Nick Daicos, saying the promising defender is banging on the door of becoming the best first-year player ever.

Speaking on Nine’s Footy Classified, Lloyd highlighted Daicos’ ability.

“He’s going as well as any first-year player there’s ever been,” he said.

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Collingwood's Nick Daicos is ranked fourth for average disposals amongst first year players.

Using a graphic to compare the top six average disposals from first-year players, the 19-year-old ranked the fourth highest since records began, with 25.4 possessions per match. This positions Daicos at the heels of mature age recruits Michael Barlow (27.8) and Liam Anthony (25.6), and Giants star Toby Greene (25.7) who launched his career ten years ago.

“Michael Barlow had been in the VFL for a long, long period of time so we’re comparing him to Toby Greene in terms of numbers,” Lloyd said.

“He had 33 [disposals] against Melbourne on the Queen’s Birthday and 30 the week before that. Six times [this season Daicos has had] 25 plus. I know possessions aren’t everything but he rarely wastes them.

“Well they are for him,” former St Kilda and Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said referring to Daicos’ elite stats game.

“He’s the best distributor on that list. No one kicks it better or sees the option better out of all those top-flight players.”

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Nick Daicos kicks whilst being tackled by rival Sam Walsh.

With only 13 senior games to his name, Daicos sits second on the Magpies’ list for disposals per game this season, only behind midfielder Jack Crisp (26.5).

He leads the club in effective disposals with 18.9 per game, ahead of his skipper Scott Pendlebury.

Son of Collingwood legend Peter Daicos and taken with pick four in the 2021 draft, former Pies president Eddie McGuire said the club structured their “entire recruiting” strategy around Nick Daicos’ impending arrival the two years prior.

“They knew Nick Daicos was coming,” he said.

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