AFL: Collingwood prepared for Finn Maginness tag on Nick Daicos

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Collingwood coach Craig McRae says the Magpies’ opponents will have to “tie themselves in knots” to sustain a hard tag on Nick Daicos ahead of a likely rematch with Finn Maginness.

Hawthorn is poised to recall Maginness for the assignment on Daicos after he played a crucial role in limiting the Magpies superstar to only five disposals in three quarters when the Hawks won in a 32-point boilover late last season.

As he confirmed veteran Steele Sidebottom would return and Jack Crisp would be elevated back into the starting 22, McRae said the Magpies had several plans depending on what attention Hawthorn gave to Daicos.

The coach said he assumed Maginness would play after the 23-year-old was named on the Hawks’ extended bench for the Sunday twilight clash at Adelaide Oval.

He said Daicos’ ability to play anywhere on the ground would force the Hawks to compromise their structure if they tried to persist with a tag.

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you? They’ve had Finn Maginness go to him previously, they’ll have some plans around that you’d assume. We’ll plan for if he does and if he doesn’t,” he said.

“It’s a difficult thing to go into a game and protect somebody, but we certainly have plans about playing somebody on Nick at training to get him some awareness of that and some scenarios.

“There’s one thing if you tag somebody – you literally have to give up a lot. Nick may play everywhere, and where he starts might not be where he finishes.

“Their system can get pulled apart a bit, so we don’t want to tie ourselves in knots, but hopefully tie them in one.”

McRae said Sidebottom would return and draw equal with Tony Shaw for the second-most games played for the club (313) after he was managed from the win over Brisbane.

“Steele will play, and that was all part of our management. We had Will (Hoskin-Elliott) and Tom (Mitchell) and those guys resting in the early stages of the season – this was something we planned,” he said.

“I think he’s now second all-time Collingwood players in the history of the club, so it’s a significant achievement.”

McRae said he was pleased with Jack Crisp’s response after he was dropped to the sub role against the Lions in a “prod” to address his slump in form.

“I had that conversation with Jack earlier in the week, and it was the response we needed from one of our quality players,” he said.

“We need our leaders to be playing well … Jack was not playing well and just needed a little bit of a prod, and we were really happy with the response.”

The coach thought his call to players to improve their execution of “fundamentals” had been adhered to, noting a greater intensity at training since the St Kilda loss.

“Even watching training today, it’s just the little things we’re doing better. Just a little bit more urgency, a bit more want to do the little things well, there are some good signs,” he said.