ESSENDON will drive a ruthlessly hard bargain in any trade that sends "irreplaceable" key forward Joe Daniher to Sydney, convinced this year's NAB AFL Draft pool doesn't boast a like-for-like candidate.
Bombers list manager Adrian Dodoro said the clubs had held three brief discussions about the matchwinner, who has a year to run on his contract but has requested a trade to the Swans for lifestyle reasons.
The Dons remain determined to persuade Daniher, 25, to stay at Bomberland ahead of the Telstra AFL Trade Period deadline on Wednesday night.
A persistent groin problem has restricted the big left-footer to just 11 games in the past two seasons.
"We don't think that this draft will replace a guy of Joey's ilk – 203 centimetres, a gun key forward; they're just so hard to find," Dodoro said at the Connors Sports Management and PWC trade breakfast at Southbank on Friday morning.
"He's very, very highly valued at our club. We love him, we love the Daniher family, and we think that once we get over this period there's no reason why Joey can't fall back in love with the club."
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A key consideration for the Bombers in deciding Daniher's worth in a trade is that next month's draft isn't blessed with the tall-forward quality of last year's batch, for example, when the King twins, Max and Ben, were drafted by St Kilda (at pick No. 4) and Gold Coast (No. 6) respectively.
"Everyone's got opinions and he's (supposedly) worth pick this or pick that, but you've got to look at the draft … It's about replacing your key forward and if the key forward's not in the draft then the value of that player actually goes up," Dodoro said.
"In this case he's irreplaceable for us."
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Asked whether the Bombers would demand two first-round picks for Daniher, Dodoro put the onus squarely on the Swans.
"It's like owning a house. People knock on your door and say, 'We want to buy your house.' It's up to them to come to us and tell us what they want to pay for it," he said.
A more positive development for Essendon on Thursday was the decision of playmaker Orazio Fantasia to recommit to the Bombers after months of speculation that he would seek a trade home to South Australia, and specifically Port Adelaide.
Dodoro conceded he'd become anxious over the situation.
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"He advised us during the year that he wanted to stay at the club but there'd been so much noise around what he was doing and (he'd) changed management, so I must admit there was a bit of nerves there at one point," he said.
"But I spoke to him yesterday morning and he said quite clearly he wanted to stay at the club, he loves the club, and he's looking forward to a great year next year.
"He's had a double operation – he played under sufferance this year (with) a knee and a bit of a hip – but he's going to have a great year next year, I've got no doubt."
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Power list manager Jason Cripps clarified that the club never met with Fantasia and, despite reports to the contrary, wasn't disgruntled with his decision.
Meanwhile, Dodoro said the Bombers were also assessing a couple of ruck options to boost their big man stocks.
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