HIS DAD made an artform of wizardry around goals but now Josh Daicos has one to cherish of his own.
>> WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
With Sydney threatening to cause a boilover and Collingwood shooting itself in the foot with wayward goalkicking, Daicos stepped up in the dying minutes to ensure the Magpies avoided a third straight defeat.
DAICOS MAKES DAD PROUD Full match coverage and stats
Swans defender Lewis Melican's kick-in failed to find a teammate, leaving Daicos to swoop, craftily keep the Sherrin in play and then slot a superb checkside goal that effectively sealed victory.
Collingwood's 6.14 (50) to 6.5 (41) win at the Gabba on Thursday night came at a cost, with Will Hoskin-Elliott (knee), Adam Treloar (hamstring) and Isaac Quaynor (lower leg) all suffering game-ending injuries.
Daicos finished with a career-high 25 disposals and almost 500m gained to be among the Pies' best players, while Taylor Adams (29), Treloar (25) and Brayden Sier (23) ensured they won the contest battle.
However, the performance almost went to waste.
After days of scrutiny on Collingwood's back-to-back losses in Perth – much of it centred on the club's contest struggles and inability to score – the Magpies could hardly have done more.
They had 15 of the first 16 inside 50s against Sydney at the Gabba on Thursday night, and led the clearances 8-1 at quarter-time.
The problem? Some of the most wayward kicking of the season: six behinds without a goal at the first break and a 2.10 half-time scoreline that left them trailing Sydney's five straight goals.
Nathan Buckley's men finally corrected those woes in the third term with three goals to none to snatch a nine-point three-quarter time advantage, but the Swans didn't go away.
Jackson Thurlow's incredible goal from beyond 50m after slapping the ball onto his right boot, left just two points separating the sides.
In fact, Sydney had the momentum before Quaynor went down injured, with a delay in the game as the stretcher came out allowing Collingwood time to compose, ahead of Daicos' heroics.
Jake Lloyd won a team-high 25 possessions in an ambushed Swans defence, while James Rowbottom (16 contested possessions, seven clearances) worked hard in the midfield.
Collingwood's horror injury toll
Already missing influential captain Scott Pendlebury, Jeremy Howe and Jordan De Goey, the Magpies ended the night with even fewer healthy warriors. They lost Will Hoskin-Elliott (knee) in the first quarter, with coach Nathan Buckley revealing at half-time he had suffered some bone bruising at minimum. Then Brayden Maynard – responsible for prolific Swan Tom Papley – spent time off the ground in the second term with a shoulder complaint, although he returned after the long break. Possibly most concerning of all was to come, when Adam Treloar disappeared into the rooms before three-quarter time with a hamstring injury. Treloar had more possessions than anyone on the ground at that time. Collingwood was left with just one rotation on the bench once the stretcher came out for Isaac Quaynor, who appeared to seriously hurt his lower right leg while laying a tackle in the final term.
Pies' putrid peppering
Look at pretty much every statistic to half-time bar the scoreboard – the one that matters most – and you'd think Collingwood should be a mile in front. The problem was the Pies were an extraordinary 1.10 when the siren sounded, before Jamie Elliott finally put through their second goal. There were two other shots during the second quarter that didn't even score, with Callum Brown failing to make the distance on the run, then Tom Phillips spraying a set shot out on the full. Making matters worse, Sydney booted five goals without a miss from only 11 forward-50 entries, compared to Collingwood's 31. Most of the Swans' attempts were far deeper and simpler than the Magpies', but Dylan Stephens' effort to slot a six-pointer as Brayden Sier felled him was the ultimate insult.
Debutants waste no time
It took just three minutes of the second quarter on Thursday night for Collingwood and Sydney to double the number of goals scored in the opening term. More noteworthy was the two majors were scored by first-gamers. Magpie Trey Ruscoe, who will forever be known for the hilarious phone call to his mum telling her he was making his AFL debut, slotted the first of them, via a free kick. Ruscoe's set-shot finish from his second kick was excellent, after he misfired from close range on his first. His third kick was also a behind, off a snap. Shortly after Ruscoe's goal, Sam Reid found Sam Wicks – a Swans Academy product who was promoted from Category B status last week – unattended down the other end. Wicks made no mistake, to ensure he would have a story to tell from his first foray into the big time.
COLLINGWOOD 0.6 2.10 5.11 6.14 (50)
SYDNEY 1.0 5.0 5.2 6.5 (41)
Collingwood: Ruscoe, Elliott, Noble, B. Reid, Adams, Daicos
Sydney: Thurlow 2, Wicks, Bell, Stephens, Papley
Collingwood: Adams, Maynard, Daicos, Treloar, Sier, Grundy
Sydney: Lloyd, Rowbottom, Dawson, Thurlow, Hayward, Stephens
Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott (right knee), Treloar (hamstring), Quaynor (lower right leg)