COLLINGWOOD knew when Nick Daicos walked through the doors last year officially that he was a player who could be used in a range of positions. But after just 17 games at AFL level, the Magpies young gun is now in the mix for the Therabody AFL All-Australian team as a half-back game-changer. 

Having been a midfield gun at under-18 level, the Magpies' emerging star has started his career out of defence, becoming a set-up star with his lethal kicking skills and high-end footy IQ.

In recent weeks more midfield time has come at different stages of the game – a switch forward against Adelaide last weekend resulted in two goals, seeing him finish with a staggering 40 disposals and three goals as a 19-year-old – and he is now in the frame to do what former Adelaide great Ben Hart achieved in 1992 when he was an All-Australian in his debut senior season.

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Young star Daicos rises like never before

Nick Daicos produces the best game of his young career with a stunning 40 touches to go alongside three goals

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Champion Data shows Daicos’ numbers not only stack up but surpass much of his competition for the half-back role. He ranks elite in disposals, contested possessions, uncontested possessions and score involvements for a player in his role, and he has also conceded an average of 0.5 goals a game – fewer than St Kilda's Jack Sinclair, Western Bulldog Bailey Dale, Adelaide's Jordan Dawson, Richmond's Nick Vlastuin and Carlton pair Sam Docherty and Adam Saad.

He is equal with Angus Brayshaw for goals conceded and ahead of Geelong star Tom Stewart, who looks all but locked in for his fourth successive All-Australian guernsey despite his lengthy suspension.

BROWNLOW PREDICTOR Who's leading the race?

Where kick-ins have become viewed as stat-padding in some cases, Daicos only averages 1.5 a game, well behind others in the category, showing most of his disposals come further up the ground in game-changing positions.

The almost unbackable NAB AFL Rising Star favourite and Copeland Trophy contender has averaged 26.6 disposals across his first season and also sits second in score involvements (averaging 4.8 a game) amongst the half-back All-Australian options. Only Carlton's Docherty is placed higher at 5.1 a game.

It makes for an intriguing watch in the final five rounds of the season, with Daicos' emergence into All-Australian consideration coming as his form spikes, more midfield time ensues and the Magpies' top-four charge gathers real steam. And it's no coincidence all of those things are linked.

How the AA half-back race is shaping up