Tom Mitchell, Nick Daicos and Nathan Murphy on the bench during the round 21 match between Hawthorn and Collingwood at the MCG, August 5, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD is counting the cost of losing consecutive games for the first time since May last year, with Brownlow Medal favourite Nick Daicos and key defender Nathan Murphy off for scans after injury scares in the 32-point loss to Hawthorn on Saturday.

Daicos was restricted to the quietest output of his brilliant 45-game career to date, finishing the game on the bench with a knee concern after being crunched in a marking contest in the third quarter. 

HAWKS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats

Murphy also ended the game sitting on the back row of the bench next to the 20-year-old after his ankle was caught in a tackle, requiring the backman to be helped off the ground in the arms of trainers. 

Collingwood coach Craig McRae ruled out any concerns with Tom Mitchell – who was subbed out of the game and had ice on his quad – but said Murphy has a suspected low-grade syndesmosis injury that could mean he is facing a race against the clock to play again before September. 


The Magpies are set to remove off-season signing Billy Frampton from Sunday's VFL fixture against Werribee in preparation for the former Port Adelaide and Adelaide utility to cover the loss of Murphy against Geelong next Friday night.

"There is more than the four points lost here today. A couple of boys will be racing the clock to get up," McRae said in his post-match press conference on Saturday night.

"Nathan Murphy looks like he might have a syndesmosis – we're getting that scanned – I'm hearing on the low-end if that is what it is. The doc said he is concerned with it being a low-grade syndesmosis. We'll know more when we get the scans. 

"Nick got a knock to the knee. He'll get a scan to see if there is anything deeper than just a knock."


Before Daicos exited the game in the fourth quarter, the young superstar was trailed around the MCG by Hawthorn tagger Finn Maginness, who restricted him to just five disposals – 11 fewer than Daicos' previous lowest and only the third time he has had less than 20 touches in a game – from 60 per cent game time. 

McRae said in his post mortem that Collingwood will take plenty of learnings out of the performance after they moved Daicos from the midfield to full forward in the second half to try and counter the tag.

"It is not about Nick, but I think we'll all learn a lot. The level of the tag was what we expected. Nick gets a knock and it makes it harder for him to run off as much, so we put him deep. It didn't quiet work," McRae said.

"In the end, we were tying ourselves in knots trying to find a place for Nick. It was disconnecting other parts of our game. In the end, we went with what we knew. 

"I think credit to Finn Maginness who has found a role for himself in the AFL. He is a great kid. I was lucky enough to work with him for 12 months. He works as hard at his game as anyone I’ve seen."

Finn Maginness and Nick Daicos during the match between Hawthorn and Collingwood at the MCG in round 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

After winning 16 of its first 18 games of 2023, Collingwood could have essentially sealed the minor premiership on Saturday but have now hit a form slump on the cusp of the final month of the season. 

McRae remains confident the Magpies will recover from the setback and reflect on this fortnight as the period that sharpened the club's focus, after a successful September run.

"I hate losing more than most people; I'm not a bad loser but I just hate losing; I'll do anything to make this group better; this is not the end of the world; this is just a moment in time; we've got work to do; there are great lessons that can be learned from tonight in terms of hunger and the psychology to dig in a bit deeper," he said.

"This is not the last game of the year, neither is next week. We are working towards finding some answers. Some of these questions upon us we've got to find out quickly, don't we? Three weeks to go in the regular season, we've got to find out a bit more.

"I'd like to think that whenever we get to reflect, that was a moment. We learned a lot last week and we presented that to the players. Our best is in front of us, I'm confident of that."


Hawthorn won eight games in Sam Mitchell's first season at the helm in 2022 and had only won five games before arriving at the MCG for round 21, but Saturday was clearly the best win yet under the four-time premiership champion. 

"I was really proud of the players," Mitchell said on Saturday night. "I thought they were fantastic. So many key moments in that game.

"It was a big game. A lot of people watched it. Top of the table team. We just had so many key moments that players stood up in. I am so proud of the leadership of the players."


Hawks captain James Sicily was overlooked by the All-Australian selectors last year despite winning the Peter Crimmins Medal after spending 18 months on the sidelines. 

Mitchell hopes they don't overlook the star defender for a second straight year, even though the 28-year-old has been suspended for four games in 2023. 

"That's a hard yes. [Geelong star Tom] Stewart made All-Australian last year and missed more than that. Yes, he could/should be named All-Australian," Mitchell said.

"There are so many good defenders in the competition, but what makes 'Sis' the best of them in my view – (I'm) biased of course – he is a defensive juggernaut but he is also an offensive threat. Offensively he is going to cause the other team a lot of trouble. It's a double egded sword when you play against someone like James Sicily."