Collingwood young gun Nick Daicos has been spotlighted as a prime example of the attitude that is driving his club to remarkable success in season 2022.
The Rising Star winner was seen celebrating even before the semi-final against Fremantle, leading an excited bunch of Magpies players up the race onto the MCG, and that energy continued as they walked off the ground.
The two moments, which looked rather similar, were pointed out by Melbourne great Garry Lyon on Fox Footy’s On the Couch.
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“There was just something that struck me … the way they walked out and the way they walked off,” he said on Fox Footy.
“This Collingwood side are jam-packed full of confidence and Nick Daicos is at the heart of it. Tell me if you can tell the difference between him walking on the field and two and a half hours later walking off.
“He looks like a kid playing under-10s. He’s getting kisses, Jordan De Goey’s looking at him thinking what are you on (about).
“Two and a half hours later, look at him, he’s still going! He wouldn’t blow a candle out, hasn’t got a hair out of place, he’s just ripped a semi-final to shreds and a lot of them are walking off going oh well, how was that?”
According to Lyon, it’s an energy they produce off the field which translates into on-field effort and pressure.
“They are so fit and they play like it. They play high-energy, upbeat, if we ain’t got the footy we’re gonna get it off you and when we have got it we’re going,” he said.
“And yet two and a half hours later they walk off like that. They’re in absolute ripping nick.”
St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt pointed out teams have been criticised for “over-celebrating”, including Collingwood, but said if they’re going to play like they are it’s completely acceptable.
“The walking up the race with the laughing and the smiling and the Ric Flair ‘Woooos’, I get all of that,” he said on Fox Footy.
“But that’s the conundrum of fun, because we sit here during the year and we questioned sides that were having that fun, laid-back approach but weren’t delivering. It worked for them (Richmond) and it’s working for Collingwood.
“I know there’s gonna be people out there saying it’s double-standards because we heard you with Dyson Heppell saying earlier in the year about the laughing and joking. But do what you want if you’re gonna deliver that sort of unconditional effort.”
Essendon great Matthew Lloyd also backed the Magpies’ displays of joy, claiming it was proof they have an energy which is hard to capture – including for them in coming seasons.
“This mood of players, a first-year kid laughing and joking, jovial like that – I haven’t seen that before. It’s the whole team feeling this way,” he said on Nine’s Footy Classified.
“And they’re unlikely to feel that way next year. You get maybe one or two years in your football journey, if you’re lucky, that you feel this way about your coach and your environment.
“Make the most of it while you’ve got it and Collingwood are certainly doing that at the moment.”
The Magpies face Sydney on Saturday evening in a preliminary final at the SCG.