FATHER-SON recruit Nick Daicos will make his debut for Collingwood against St Kilda on Friday night, but Will Hoskin-Elliott and two coaches won't be at Marvel Stadium due to health and safety protocols.

New senior coach Craig McRae announced the selection of the No.4 pick from the 2021 NAB AFL Draft and off-season acquisition Patrick Lipinski in front of the entire playing list and football department at the end of Wednesday's main training session at the AIA Centre.

Daicos, the son of Collingwood Team of the Century member Peter, has dazzled over the pre-season, first on the track and then in match simulation, before confirming his spot with two strong performances against Hawthorn and Greater Western Sydney.


He was Collingwood's best player in the AAMI Community Series, amassing 31 disposals across half-back at Giants Stadium and will play his first game in the famous black and white stripes against the same side his old man debuted against in 1979.

The 18-year-old has emerged as one of the favourites for this year's NAB AFL Rising Star Award alongside North Melbourne's prized pick Jason Horne-Francis, who arrived at Arden Street after being taken at pick No.1 last November.

20:24 Mins
Published on

Going Places: New Magpie Nick Daicos' journey to the AFL

A behind-the-scenes look at the rise of draft star Nick Daicos

Published on

Speaking ahead of his first game in charge of an AFL club, McRae said the internal expectation of the Oakleigh Chargers product doesn’t mirror the buzz and hype surrounding the latest Daicos to enter the AFL.

"The expectation is external, but we certainly know what he can bring to the table. He's had a great pre-season. He is still yet to play an AFL game so there is a whole different level, but we're excited," McRae said at a press conference on Wednesday morning. 

"He is an elite decision-maker; he's just got the ability to see the game the way others don’t see and his skill execution is really high. 

"Nick the person is high character, high workrate, really professional and an engaging young man. I think they are great qualities to bring into the footy club. I think he makes us better."

GOING TO THE GAME? Get R1 tickets for Saints v Magpies here

Collingwood had planned to use Wednesday's training session to put Hoskin-Elliott through a fitness test to determine his availability for selection, after the former Giant tweaked his hip and groin following a training mishap on Monday.

But the decision was taken out of the Magpies' hands after the 28-year-old entered health and safety protocols, along with new director of coaching Brendon Bolton and new academy coach Josh Fraser. 

Will Hoskin-Elliott at Collingwood training in December 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

"Unfortunately, the other day he slipped over and we thought he might need to prove his fitness today, but he's now in the COVID protocols and has to be out seven days, so we'll have to wait and see on that one," McRae said.

"With COVID around at the moment, we've got two of our coaches who are going to be out as well, which is just part and parcel of the environment we're in at the moment. Brendon Bolton won't be available; he's a close contact; and Josh Fraser as well. 

It is understood that only six players are yet to contract the coronavirus at the AIA Centre.  

Lipinski will wear the famous black and white stripes for the first time since he was traded from the Western Bulldogs in exchange for pick No.43 last October.

Lipinski has overcome the ankle injury that ended his final practice match before the end of the first quarter against the Giants.

The 23-year-old sought a trade at the end of last season after struggling for opportunity in the midfield at the Whitten Oval, adding only 11 games in 2021 to take his career tally to 56.

Collingwood will be without key defender Jordan Roughead (shoulder) and gun backman Brayden Maynard (suspension), but will regain vice-captains Jeremy Howe (groin) and Taylor Adams (hamstring) have both been given the green light to face the Saints after missing the AAMI Community Series earlier this month. 
Maynard won't be available for selection until round three after receiving a two-game ban for striking Greater Western Sydney forward Daniel Lloyd in the AAMI Community Series, but will play a VFL practice match against Sandringham at AIA Centre on Friday afternoon.
After the club used Jordan De Goey through the midfield more in the second half of last season, culminated in a fourth-place finish in the Copeland Trophy, McRae expects the 26-year-old to divide his time between midfield and attack to start the season, following a delayed start to his pre-season due to a well-documented off-field incident in New York.
"He is going to be a bit of both," he said. "We don’t want to lose his ability to impact games forward. I don’t think he's quite ready to play midfield for four quarters, but again it would be silly not to play around the ball at times. I think it will be a balance of both."

McRae and the match committee are yet to meet for the final time ahead of the season-opener, but American key forward Mason Cox is expected to return to senior football on Friday night after falling out of favour in 2021 under former senior coach Nathan Buckley and caretaker coach Robert Harvey. 

The 30-year-old only managed seven games last season and wasn’t offered a contract for this season until the end of October after young ruckman Max Lynch moved to Hawthorn in search of greater opportunity.