Main content

Dons dilemma: Lloyd explains when he'd pull the trigger on Joe

Blues band together, skipper weighs in on Daniher debate Nat Edwards and Mitch Cleary with the latest news

IT IS the conundrum facing John Worsfold.

Finally, the Bombers have Joe Daniher fit, but what should they do with him?

Daniher has overcome a calf tear and is ready to play again this week – be it in Essendon's Good Friday clash with North Melbourne or in the VFL.

But complicating matters is the Bombers' short turnaround for their Anzac Day clash with Collingwood the following Thursday.

FROM THE TWOS Gibbs among big names to fire

If Daniher plays against the Roos – which would be his first AFL game since round seven last year after battling the debilitating osteitis pubis last season – could he back it up against the Pies?

Or if he plays for the Bombers' VFL side on Saturday, is it too risky for him to return to the AFL five days later?

Daniher played three games in 11 days last season before being sidelined for the rest of the season. 

WHO MAKES FINALS? Do the 2019 Ladder Predictor

Essendon's all-time leading goalkicker Matthew Lloyd says the Bombers should stick with the forward group that has booted 37 goals in the past two weeks, including their 47-point win over Brisbane last round.

"With the short turnaround, I'd play him on Anzac Day. The way the guys played on the weekend, they earned the right to play again," Lloyd told AFL.com.au.

"A year or two ago, and he won the best and fairest in 2017, you'd say you can build your forward line around Joe, but I don't think that's the case anymore.

"I think one of Essendon's strengths is that with Jake Stringer, Mitch Brown, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Orazio Fantasia they've got a really diverse forward line. They can't just go back to bombing it on Joey's head."

Brown returned to the Bombers' line-up against Melbourne in round three, and was excellent against the Lions, kicking three goals from 25 disposals.

Lloyd sees Daniher playing more of a role in the ruck when he returns to the line-up, allowing him to

 

"His ability to probably take Zac Clarke's spot and ruck 30 per cent of the time gives the perfect mix to allow Essendon to have a few different looks at a different forward line," he said.

"It would take pressure off Joey not going through him so many times.

"When he played his best footy [in 2017], it was his mobility and versatility to be able to play up the ground, and I think he became a better forward as a result of the freedom in the ruck too."

Daniher, 25, was named an All Australian in 2017 and took out the club's Crichton Medal after booting a career-best 65 goals from 23 games.