To tag Nick Daicos, or not to tag Nick Daicos?
That is the question facing Essendon as they prepare to confront Collingwood’s red-hot Brownlow Medal favourite ahead of a blockbuster Anzac Day match.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Nick Daicos set for a mammoth pay rise.
Daicos left St Kilda coach Ross Lyon pondering whether he’d misjudged in opting against a hard tag, with a stunning career-high 42 disposals in Collingwood’s win on Sunday.
“It’s an interesting question. It’s not as simple as it seems,” Essendon coach Brad Scott told reporters.
“If anyone thinks it’s easy, they need to look a bit closer, because Nick is really, really important, obviously, but he also fits into a very good system.
“So it’s a bit of a debate as to whether you try and take away one individual potentially at the expense to your system or or, or do you sacrifice a bit of your system?
“So it’s an interesting debate and one we haven’t solved yet or we haven’t come to a conclusion, so we’ll just keep looking at it.
“But suffice to say, he’s a really important player for them and if he dominates, then Collingwood are a good chance of winning the game.”
Essendon haven’t been afraid to use a run-with player, with Will Setterfield limiting Clayton Oliver early in their impressive win over Melbourne.
But they also have to offset losing Zach Merrett to suspension.
“We’ve got a number of players that can come in and take his role, but let’s not kid ourselves,” Scott said.
“Zach is a very, very good player and a unique player and so we don’t replace him like for like.
“But we talk about system over personnel both publicly and privately, and if we’re going to be true to that, then we can’t sit there and say we’ve lost one part of our personnel and that’s going to affect our system.”
Essendon will welcome back forward Sam Weideman from concussion while Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and Harrison Jones will be given every opportunity to overcome ankle injuries.
Fresh off monstering Brodie Grundy, ruckmen Sam Draper and Andrew Phillips shape as keys against Collingwood’s undermanned ruck division.
Scott was wary of an unpredictable Collingwood, with Nathan Kreuger among the options to assist Billy Frampton.
“We don’t really have a great line of sight as to what they’re going to do and that presents its own unique challenge,” he said.
“It’s the old adage that if you’re dominating in the air with your talls, that’s great, but if the ball’s hitting the ground all the time, potentially it’s advantage them.
“So it’s a matter of going in with a strategy to try and capitalise on that but not get exposed the other way if Collingwood go a bit smaller.”
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