CRITICISM surrounding Joe Daniher's hug on former teammate Michael Hibberd during the Bombers' loss to Melbourne last Sunday is "ridiculous", Brendon Goddard says.
Daniher hugged Melbourne defender Hibberd after enduring a horror day in front of goal - he had booted 0.6 and one out of bounds to that point.
The 23-year-old took the unusual step of practising his goalkicking during the half-time break and was able to slot his one major of the afternoon during the third quarter.
Goddard told RSN it wasn't the first time Daniher had embraced an opponent.
"The approach to the criticism on Joey during the week was just ridiculous. If we turn the clock back a week to Anzac Day, he hugged Steele Sidebottom. He goes on to win the Anzac Day Medal and no-one says anything of it," Goddard said.
"He hugged Ben Stratton in the first game against Hawthorn too. Nothing said. Trying to relate an act like that to his performance on the weekend, missing goals, is just ridiculous.
"Joe works really hard on his game. We know as players, it's obviously his role and he gets paid as a forward to kick goals, but he's not going out there to deliberately try to miss. It's not as black and white as everyone says. I love everyone's opinion on the issue – everyone's got an opinion now, don't they?
Daniher has 13.16 through six games for the season and is the focal point of an Essendon outfit that has few tall options up forward, with Cale Hooker struggling to make an impact.
The young tall is ranked fifth in the competition for marks inside 50 per game but is 20th for goals.
"Joey's working hard on his game and he's not doing it intentionally. There's clearly room for improvement, don't get me wrong," Goddard said.
"I don't necessarily feel sorry for Joey, because he is working hard on his game and his talent's undoubted, but he does need to work on it, because it is an important facet of the game.
"If he was to get it right, he would be an unbelievable footballer and an asset to the footy club. In saying that, he still is. I'm confident in him because he's doing the work and he's not in denial about it. He knows he needs to improve to make himself better and us better."
Essendon faces Fremantle at Domain Stadium on Sunday.