Collingwood Magpies vs North Melbourne Kangaroos, Nick Daicos, tag, Alastair Clarkson press conference, Will Phillips, sub, trade, First Crack

North Melbourne will regret their decision to offload young Will Phillips, Fox Footy’s Leigh Montagna believes, after the Roos staged the seventh biggest comeback in AFL history on Sunday.

Phillips had been tasked with tagging Magpies star Nick Daicos – and restricted the youngster to 19 disposals at three-quarter time before coach Alastair Clarkson made the call with his side 31 points up.

With Phillips tactically taken out of the match, Daicos tore apart new opponent Liam Shiels to “complete the difference” between the two sides in Collingwood’s thrilling one-point win.

Watch every match of every round this Toyota AFL Premiership season LIVE without commercial breaks while playing on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today >


Will Phillips tapped Nick Daicos for three-quarters. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“They lost this one in the coaching box with the decision to take Will Phillips off at three-quarter time after he had done the tagging work on Nick Daicos and done really well for three quarters,” Montagna said on Fox Footy’s. First crack.

“They wanted to get Jaidyn Stephenson involved. They took this kid (Phillips) out and I think it had a huge impact on this game.

“We know that coaches live and die by the decisions they make – and sometimes they get it wrong.

“I think they will look back and regret this decision.”

Collingwood scores amazing comeback win | 02:49

Clarkson was asked to explain the tactical decision during his post-match press conference and admitted he had taken a “punt” with the sub move.

“We had the freshness of the submarine and Wil was starting to get a little tired,” he said.

“But yeah, if you don’t win, you sit there and say, ‘Oh boy, was that crucial?’ I don’t think that was crucial to the end result, but we just wanted to use the freshness of our sub.

“We just thought the fresh legs would help us in the last part of the race.”

Montagna said he understood the decision to put on Stephenson’s new legs, but not at Phillips’ expense.

“They had two rucks. They had Toby Pink. They had Kallan Dawson and Aidan Corr in defense – they had a lot of other options if they wanted to get more into the game in the last quarter,” he said.

Roos looks positive after brutal loss | 13:02

“But Will Phillips went out and suddenly they put Liam Shiels on Nick Daicos and he stepped up when the game needed to be won. (Daicos’) fourth quarter as incredible. His will to win, his work rate and his intensity just stood out: they couldn’t contain him.

“(Shiels) just didn’t have the leg speed to go with him.

‘Daicos put them to the sword.

“We know Will Phillips has that competitiveness and he has that character where I think even if he was tired he could have gotten the job done.”

In the last quarter alone, Daicos had ten touches compared to Shiels’ two, five contested possessions to two and three goals to nil.

Roos deprived of last 50m penalty? | 00:42

‘He ran wild. I think they’ll look back and think we probably made the wrong decision there,” Montagna said.

“He was the difference in the fourth quarter.”

Phillips’ future at North Melbourne remains up in the air, with the former pick 3 reportedly assessing his options after competing in the VFL before being called up for the showdown with Collingwood.