Essendon forward Joe Daniher considering move to Sydney Swans

Essendon star Zach Merrett says the Bombers will support whatever decision Joe Daniher makes as the goalkicker ponders his future at the club after a “pretty trying couple of years”.

Essendon spearhead Joe Daniher will take some time away from the club to consider making a bombshell move to Sydney Swans.

A day after the Herald Sun reported Daniher was pondering a big move, teammate Zach Merrett said Daniher’s future was up in the air after a serious groin injury and subsequent surgery ruined his 2018-19 seasons.

A trade request would have considerable ramifications for the Bombers who would ask for two first-round draft picks from Sydney for Daniher to help find a replacement key forward.

Joe Daniher is weighing up his future. Pic: Getty Images
Joe Daniher is weighing up his future.

Greater Western Sydney’s Jeremy Cameron, who is a free agent at the end of next season, would top the wishlist, while Swans’ Tom McCartin could also be an option.

The Swans have dismissed speculation Daniher, 25, was considering a fresh start in Sydney since he had a meeting with Swans’ chief executive Tom Harley’s house in late July.

But Merrett said a trade move was a serious option for Daniher ahead of next month’s exchange period.

“Joe’s obviously got to make his mind up himself,” Merrett said.

“I think he has made it pretty clear that he is going to have a bit of time away and decide what he wants to do with his footy going forward.

“So the club is fully supportive of Joe and whatever he does and I hope that he is hopefully at Essendon next year.”

Sydney has a glorious history of luring high-profile key forwards to the club including AFL legend Tony Lockett, premiership captain Barry Hall and, more recently, superstar Lance Franklin.

Daniher attracted some attention for having a night out with friends at a pub this year while injured.

His first attempt at recovering from the groin injury without surgery failed, forcing the 2017 best and fairest winner and All-Australian to go under the knife in May this year, wiping out the rest of the season.

Merrett said Daniher was well within his rights to consider a move, despite having a contract for next year.

“I think it’s the reality of the industry is you have to put yourself first at times,” Merrett said.

“And Joe’s been enormous for the Essendon footy club but he’s had a pretty trying couple of years recently.

Groin injuries have restricted Daniher over the past two seasons. Pic: AAP
Groin injuries have restricted Daniher over the past two seasons.

“So I think it’s up to him what he wants to do and I’m sure the club will be very supportive of him.”

Sydney has pick No.4 to trade with the Bombers, while the Swans could also secure pick No.8 from Carlton in a swap for small forward Tom Papley.

Daniher was eligible to join Sydney and Essendon under father-son rules in the 2012 draft, but eventually chose the Bombers.

The 200cm forward has played only 11 games in the past two seasons and is believed to be currently continuing his rehabilitation program at the Bombers’ Tullamarine headquarters.

He is a free agent, along with Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy and Giants’ Cameron, at the end of next season.

That’s when he could leave for another club of his choice in exchange for a single first-round draft pick as free agency compensation.

Merrett said it was a tough call for his good mate whether or not to pursue a move in next month’s exchange period as a trade.

“He’s got a lot of friends and family in Melbourne,” Merrett said.

“So although it is a bit of a footy bubble (In Melbourne), I’m sure he loves being supported by his close family and friends and he’s got some great relationships at the Essendon footy club.

“So I think it’d be a pretty tough decision to walk away but he’s got to make up his own mind.”

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