Greater Western Sydney prepares for Nick Daicos as Carlton swings selection axe

Nick Daicos will rejoin his brother Josh in Collingwood's side for the preliminary final.

Nick Daicos will rejoin his brother Josh in Collingwood's side for the preliminary final. Photo: AAP

Greater Western Sydney expects Collingwood young gun Nick Daicos to have an immediate impact in his AFL return – if the Giants let him.

Daicos’s return in place of injured onballer Taylor Adams was the only change for Friday night’s clash at the MCG, but Carlton has dropped four players for its imposing Gabba test against the Brisbane Lions.

As the Blues welcomed back Harry McKay from concussion and Jack Martin from suspension, they axed David Cuningham, Matthew Owies, Brodie Kemp and Matthew Kennedy.

Defender Jordan Boyd was recalled for his first senior game since round 18 and Carlton put Ollie Hollands into the 22 after he did well when subbed into its narrow semi-final win over Melbourne.

The Lions have also made a big change, losing defender Jack Payne to a leg injury and recalling Darcy Gardiner.

Daicos will play for the first time in seven weeks, since he fractured his knee in the round 21 loss to Hawthorn.

Until then the Magpies young gun was enjoying a stellar second season and was the popular Brownlow Medal favourite.

Daicos has missed plenty of football, but Giants coach Adam Kingsley does not think he will be rusty upon return.

“The way he plays is really dynamic. He’s been training for a little while, so I don’t think he’ll lose that,” Kingsley said on Thursday.

“If we allow him to, he’ll play really well. I’m sure of that.”

Kingsley added GWS will not focus too heavily on the younger Daicos, but said they had to put some planning into him.

When Collingwood belted the Giants by 65 points at the MCG in round nine, Daicos probably polled another three Brownlow votes with his 41 disposals.

“We have our plans around where he could line up. To be fair, we’re not going to focus too much on him – we’re going to focus on ourselves.

“He’s a wonderful player – really, really difficult to stop. We’re well aware of what he can do if we allow him.

“Our plan will be to minimise the damage he causes.”

He will join older brother Josh in the Collingwood line-up, while Adams nurses a hamstring injury a year after a groin tear cruelled his finals campaign.

The Magpies have been confident that Adams will be available should they win through to the grand final on Saturday week.

Jack Ginnivan (Collingwood) and Xavier O’Halloran (GWS) are the subs, with the Giants unchanged.

Payne had been in a race against the clock to be fit for their home preliminary final late on Saturday afternoon against Carlton.

Gardiner will play only his second senior game this season and his first since round 13, while Jarryd Lyons is their sub.

Veteran Jack Gunston has proved his fitness, but the Lions opted not to recall him.


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