In the Nick of time: Josh Daicos speaks about his rise

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Collingwood’s All-Australian wingman Josh Daicos says he was somewhat immature when he started at the Magpies and needed time to become the player he is today.

But the elder Daicos brother, who has improved enormously over the past two seasons, said that his improvement was independent of his feted brother Nick’s arrival at Collingwood, even though Josh has elevated his game in the time that his brother has been at the club.

Daicos, who was drafted in 2016, agreed that he had made a jump in 2020, his first season as a regular, and then elevated his game further last year.

Meet the Daicoses: Peter, Maddie, Nick, Josh and Colleen after Nick was drafted in 2021.Credit: AFL Photos

“Yeah, I think just because I came in a bit immature in terms of my, yeah, my physical body, everything that goes into being an AFL footballer. I was probably a little bit behind … the top-graders,” he told this masthead.

“So it probably took me a bit of time to mature up, but I spent a lot of time in my off-season – football never really stops for me – I love getting better at football, practising, always have a football in my hand, and I’m so lucky to have Nick as a training partner.”

“His philosophy growing up was always that he can get us fit in eight weeks, but skill requires years of mastery – the touch, the feeling, and replicating that thousands of times.”

Daicos said having his younger brother supporting him had made a difference, but he had developed independently of Nick arriving at Collingwood. The brothers had helped one another, as if they were a team and had never been in competition.

“I think it was independent of that (Nick’s arrival),” Daicos said of his improvement. He made the All-Australian squad last year and was selected on the wing in the official team this year.

“I think growing up, between Nick and I, it was never a competition. It was just like a real love for one another. And we were so caring. Like, I think like early days I played a lot of VFL and Nick was so caring, whether it was we would go the park after games, just to practise if I’d missed set shots.

Josh Daicos at Collingwood training this week.Credit: Getty Images

“It was almost like as a team, how can we keep getting better? Regardless of whether he was at the club or not, it just worked out that it was kind of a coincidence that the year he came – and obviously it helps having him out on the ground.”

Daicos, 24, was born some years after the retirement of his mercurial father Peter, one of the most gifted and spectacular footballers the game has produced. But Josh said he gained inspiration from watching clips of his father and his “unbelievable” highlight reel.

“Unbelievable, and I definitely get a lot of inspiration from watching Dad’s highlights and just seeing the creativity he had and the way he played and moved was like few others,” he said.

Daicos explained how his father had placed an emphasis on skills, rather than physical training, when he and Nick were growing up, and that football had been about enjoyment, rather than being drilled.

“His philosophy growing up was always that he can get us fit in eight weeks, but skill requires years of mastery – the touch, the feeling, and replicating that thousands of times.

“It was always something we enjoyed to do, though.

“It was never, ever, practise 10 on your left, practise 10 on your right. Like, we just practised. And it was just having fun with the ball in our hands and not even knowing that we’ve got it in our hands. Dad was amazing like that. Nick and I were so lucky to have that, relaxed but really driven with our football.”

Daicos said the enjoyment of the game helped keep him energised.

“You never really run out of energy. Even though I’m in my seventh year, I still kind of feel like I’m in my first.”

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