Collingwood star Nick Daicos says it will be difficult for him not be nervous on Monday night, but his eyes remained fixed firmly on the Grand Final in the biggest week of his life.
The 20-year-old would be the youngest Brownlow medallist since Gavin Wanganeen in 1993 should he take a big enough lead to hold off his rivals on Monday night.
Daicos said he was expending little energy thinking about the Brownlow, but conceded he would be nervous during the count as a tense finish looms.
Rivals will have four rounds to chase down Daicos’ tally if he holds the lead as expected at the end of round 20, with a hairline fracture in his knee derailing his round 21 clash with the Hawks and bringing an end to his home and away season.
“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it,” he said.
“(2018 Brownlow medallist) Tommy Mitchell asked me before how I’m feeling because obviously he can relate to it, and I’ve been so focused on getting back, working on my knee … that consumed me so much during the finals, and now I’m back and we’re through to a Grand Final, all my focus is set on how I can best prepare for Saturday.
“There might be a little bit of nerves tomorrow going in and actually being there … I’m sure as soon as it’s done I’ll be ready to prepare for Saturday either way.
Collingwood champion Peter Daicos joked had “the Learjet at the ready” as he reflected on the “whirlwind” which had led his son to the precipice of the game’s highest individual honour.
“Look, it’s just been a whirlwind, really, the last couple of years, and we just keep getting sort of the niceties of what football can bring,” he said.
“There’s not a huge expectation, but if (Nick) is able to get close, well fantastic … we’ll let it play out.
“If it comes to be – I don’t think he’ll be that far away – it would be for the club and what they have been able to create for the last few years, really special.”
Daicos senior said he was getting tremendous satisfaction from watching Nick and Josh be rewarded for their hard work with team and individual success this season.
Both earnt maiden All-Australian blazers three weeks ago and were hugely influential as Collingwood fought back in the second half of the preliminary final to beat GWS.
“I do enjoy going to the footy and watching the boys … people get to see a finished product.
“When you’re in-house, you get to see all the work that goes into it, so now we got to the line and what’s going to bn more pleasing about it.
“This hasn’t been the pre-season just previously passed, this has been a build over three or four years, so the pleasing thing is the boys are able to come away with something.”
He said despite the advantages of the father-son rule, it was not lost on the family how fortunate the boys were to have received a chance at the top level.
“You look at how many picks each club allocates leading into the next year, is it three, four, two in some cases … it’s the old Willy Wonka golden ticket, you get the opportunity, so it’s pretty special.”