Daniher return date uncertain

19 May 2020 19:33:51 GMTPlus10

Essendon still don't know whether injury-prone forward Joe Daniher will play this season.

The 26-year-old hasn't played since round nine last year due to groin problems.

Daniher was the Bombers' leading goalkicker in four consecutive seasons, ending in 2017 when he booted 69 majors.

Since then, though, he's managed just 11 games in two seasons, for a total of 15 goals.

Coach John Worsfold said Daniher, who unsuccessfully sought a trade to Sydney at the end of last season, was a "fair way off" reaching the training intensity required to push for AFL selection.

Asked whether Daniher, who has kicked 188 goals in 104 games overall for the club since 2013, would play again in 2020, the coach said he couldn't answer the question.

"All I can say is that our aim is to help him get back ready to play, ready to resume his career - so that's what we're aiming for," added Worsfold. "He's progressing well and we're trying to get him up, ready to go.

"We're not too concerned about saying 'get him back as quickly as possible.' We're just following the protocol because ... this is about long term for Joe, (to) help him absolutely get over this so his career progresses at the rate we want, rather than trying to get him back one or two weeks earlier.

"If we step him up to a certain level, and that level he is not coping with, we have to come back to the previous level and strengthen him more in that area and then we go again."

Daniher will qualify for free agency at season's end, with Sydney preparing to come back in for him.

Captain Dyson Heppell is in doubt for the Bombers' next game as he progresses in his return from a foot injury.

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