Nick Daicos celebrates during the round 12 match between Collingwood and Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium, May 31, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

LET'S START with the numbers.

Nick Daicos last week became the quickest player – in 59 games – to reach the 30-disposal mark against every team in the competition with his brilliant outing against the Western Bulldogs. He also set a new mark for the most first possessions ever in a game (25), the most clearances by a Collingwood player (16) and the most contested possessions by a Collingwood player (27).

His tally of 47 votes in the AFL Coaches Association's player of the year award from round eight to 12 also equalled Dustin Martin's level for the most in a unique five-game span of any player.

His total of 68 contested possessions over the past three weeks is the equal fifth-most on record, behind Patrick Dangerfield (71, 69 and 69) and Jack Macrae (69) and equal with Matt Rowell (68) from previous seasons, while his accumulative 40 clearances in the past three weeks is the equal second-most on record (behind Rowell with 41 and equal to Mark Ricciuto with 40).

Nick Daicos celebrates after the Grand Final between Collingwood and Brisbane at the MCG, September 30, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Daicos' two-goal, 32-disposal effort in a losing team to the Western Bulldogs was ranked by Champion Data as the best game by any player this season with 32.2 AFL Player Ratings points – the most of anyone in 2024 so far. All told, Daicos is building a record collection stronger than any DJ. 

It was also the highest rated game of his career, coming in ahead of his 40-disposal and three-goal effort in his first season, ahead of his Grand Final performance against Brisbane, ahead of his Anzac Medal winning game against Essendon and his matchwinning goal and best-afield display over Carlton this year, among others. Were one to rank Daicos' 59 games in order, his showcase against the Bulldogs would likely be a top-five performance.


The evolution of Daicos in his third season has been significant. After winning the Rising Star in his debut season as an attacking, play-starter from half-back, when he spent 80 per cent of his game time in defence, he took his brilliance further up the ground last season.

In the Pies' premiership campaign, Daicos played 51 per cent of his game time as a midfielder, 41 as a defender and eight as a forward. This season, after being thrown behind the ball at stages early in the year by coach Craig McRae, Daicos has become a fully blown midfield game-changer.

He ranks No.1 in the AFL for gathers from hit-outs, centre bounce clearances, centre bounce first possessions and overall contested possessions. He is second in the competition for first possessions, clearances and loose ball gets, and in the top-seven for handball receives, kicks into the forward-50, score involvements, metres gained and pressure acts.

All that has happened with a shift to be in Collingwood's midfield 82 per cent of Daicos' game time, with 16 per cent this season spent as a defender and two per cent in attack.


The 21-year-old's ability to step up when required has been obvious to all and is reflected in the data. Last year when Collingwood was without Jordan De Goey, their other premier game-turner, Daicos' AFL player ratings points lifted from 14.7 to 16.1. This year his numbers have risen from 17.9 to 21.8 when Daicos has to shoulder more midfield responsibility with De Goey missing.

Save for his knee injury late last year, Daicos would have been all but locked in to finish his second season with a Brownlow Medal, best and fairest and AFL Coaches Association's player of the year award. And he's gotten better in 2024.