Nick Daicos after the preliminary final between Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney at the MCG, September 22, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

COLLINGWOOD is breathing a sigh of relief with returning star Nick Daicos cleared for a dangerous tackle late in Friday night's preliminary final, leaving the 20-year-old Magpie available for the Toyota AFL Grand Final.

A cloud hung over Daicos' availability for the season decider after a final-quarter incident that saw Greater Western Sydney's Brent Daniels driven face first into the MCG turf.

Daicos drove Daniels into the ground, but teammate Scott Pendlebury was also holding the Giant's arm in the tackle.

Although Daniels got up, the hard-running Giant needed to leave the field later in the quarter to undergo a head injury assessment.

While he was cleared of concussion, Daniels was on the sidelines for the final five minutes of the match as his side tried desperately to overcome a one-point deficit and earn a Grand Final berth.


After the match, GWS coach Adam Kingsley suggested his club would seek clarification from the AFL regarding the necessity of removing a valuable player from the contest at such an important time.

"We were really disappointed to lose Brent Daniels to a HIA assessment that he passed, comfortably, in the last five minutes of the game, which hurt us around the ball, a little bit of leg speed, some overlap run, so that's extremely disappointing," Kingsley said.

No charges were laid from Friday night's encounter.

Daicos being cleared was some much-needed good news for Collingwood, which has ruled forward Dan McStay (knee) out of the Grand Final.

The Magpies will face the winner of Saturday's clash between Brisbane and Carlton in the decider.