North Melbourne Kangaroos defender Ben McKay rules out a trade to Sydney Swans, Collingwood Magpies welcome back Nick Daicos from knee injury for preliminary final vs GWS Giants
On Saturday McKay visited Hawthorn’s training venue, Waverley Park, having already met with Essendon.
Hawthorn believe McKay will form a strong defensive pairing with their skipper James Sicily while the Bombers hope he can do the same with Jordan Ridley. Essendon are already set to lose a key defender in this trade period with Brandon Zerk-Thatcher requesting a trade to Port Adelaide, which are also set to gain Geelong defender Esava Ratugolea.
Two industry sources who requested anonymity to speak on trade matters also confirmed Collingwood had joined Brisbane in expressing interest in Adelaide defender Tom Doedee, a free agent recovering from a second knee reconstruction.
Pies prepare to unleash ‘weapon’ Daicos
Collingwood coach Craig McRae says Nick Daicos will play wherever he is needed on Friday night, as the Magpies prepare to unleash their biggest weapon on GWS.
Daicos hasn’t played since August 5, when Hawthorn beat the Magpies in round 21, but would have been in the mix to play last week had the Pies lost their qualifying final against Melbourne.
He looked sharp during Collingwood’s main training session on Monday, training as a midfielder-forward during match simulation, but McRae said the Brownlow Medal favourite could be used across any third of the ground on Friday night.
“I think we’re going to use him where we need him,” McRae said.
“He might start forward, he might start mid. Just whatever the game needs.
“It’s just a great weapon to have that you’re bringing back one of your best players, and he looks like he’s hungry and ready to go. He’s trained off and on; a bit scratchy the first couple of weeks back or last week. I think we’ll use him where we need him.”
Asked whether Daicos, who had 41 disposals when these two sides last met, could be expected to hit the lofty heights he reached midway through this season, McRae said: “Those questions are hard to answer.”
“He’s training well, he’s missed a lot of footy, so we’ve got to be conscious of that,” he said.
Daicos is likely to be the only inclusion into Collingwood’s 22 for midfielder Taylor Adams, who suffered a low-grade hamstring strain at training last Friday.
Jack Ginnivan looms as the most obvious sub choice for Collingwood again, but defender John Noble has been told to stay ready in case a chance comes.
“We look sometimes for insurance and sometimes for spark [with our sub choice],” McRae said.
“Sometimes you can get a bit of both. Mason [Cox] against Brisbane a few weeks ago gave us a bit of insurance and a bit of spark. Jack Ginnivan’s doing a great job in that role so we’ll see how that plays out.
“I had a good chat to Johnny earlier in the week. He’s disappointed [to miss out in the qualifying final], as you would be, but as a quality human as he is, he gets back to work. He’s trained so well this week. I keep using the analogy, you’re in the slips and just waiting for that catch, and if it comes, be ready to catch it.”
As for Adams, McRae said he was in a race against the clock to get fit for a grand final should Collingwood make it.
The Magpies made light work of the Giants when they met in round nine, but the Giants were without Toby Greene, Sam Taylor and Kieren Briggs in that match.
They come into the preliminary final having won 11 of their past 13 matches, and McRae said he was wary of the Giants’ form.
“They’re playing some super footy, we’re going to have to bring our best defensive game to match their offence,” he said.
“We want to bring great pressure. That’s in our DNA. You bring great pressure, you ask questions of the opposition. They move the ball with handball as good as anyone in the competition, so we’re going to have to bring great pressure. We’ll see which one comes out on top of that.”
Brayden Maynard was the likely match up for Greene, but McRae said a system defence would be required to contain the Giants’ swarm of smalls.
“We’re going to have to be on our game. [Brent] Daniels is a really good player, I think he’s underrated, we’re going to have to watch out for him and bring our best version to take him out of the game. They’re good players.
“If you went through every player on the field, you’ll go, ‘this is a concern’, but we have team defence so we like to back our system in.”
Brown changes tune on Lions, but wary of Voss’ Blues
A phone conversation with Michael Voss while standing on top of a ladder has Jonathan Brown wary.
But the Brisbane Lions great still thinks his old team, and the tall forwards he all-but wrote off earlier this year, have proved themselves ready to win the club’s first flag in 20 years.
The Lions play Carlton in Saturday’s preliminary final at the Gabba. Blues coach Voss the captain when Brisbane last won a premiership in 2003.
Carlton have won 11 of 12 to reach this point, historically moving from fourth-last in round 15 to finish in fifth place.
Former teammate Brown took a call from Voss this week while the retired full forward was painting atop a ladder.
“I’m so happy for Fly (Collingwood coach and another former Lion Craig McRae) but especially Vossy, considering the headlines in the middle of the year were ‘sack Voss’,” he said.
“It’s a great story; he believes the resilience they’ve developed on the back end of their bad run was the catalyst.
“It’s going to be tough to regroup and go again.
“But he’s not satisfied. He wants to go all the way and that’s important.”
Brown was critical of Brisbane and particularly forwards Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood after a poor round-three loss to the Bulldogs.
“No, they’re not (premiership key forwards),” he told Fox Footy in April.
“I’ve got serious doubts … any key forward needs to be reliable and predictable to his teammates – and I’m not seeing reliable and predictable teammates in Hipwood and Daniher at the moment.”
The pair have responded and Brown’s tune has changed, Hipwood managing a career-best 40 goals this season and Daniher (56) booting five to star in their qualifying final win.
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