BRISBANE'S re-contracting of Joe Daniher, just one year after securing the key forward as a free agent from Essendon, is yet to be cleared by the AFL. believes League headquarters has been seeking extra information relating to the new deal, which added the 2024 and 2025 seasons to an initial three-year arrangement which was pitched, and accepted, during the free agency period in late 2020.

In that initial deal, the Lions secured Daniher for nothing other than the finances attached to the deal, while Essendon received a lucrative national draft selection as per a formula which determines compensation to a club which loses a free agent.

Following the public announcement by the Lions late last month that Daniher had had his contract extended to the end of 2025, several clubs raised queries with, effectively asking if the initial three-year deal, which provided the Bombers with the draft pick which was initially pick No.7 but slid to No.9 overall, was indeed a five-year deal from the very beginning.

The AFL said it would not be commenting on the Daniher situation.

Daniher was among the best afield on Saturday night at the Gabba, booting four goals in the Lions' 11-point win against Port Adelaide in the 2022 season opener. He played all 24 matches (22 home-and-away games and qualifying and semi-finals) for Brisbane in his first season, 2021.

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Published on late last month revealed some clubs were wondering if the Daniher arrangement to join the Lions had been a five-year deal from the outset at, say, less money per season compared with the speculated-about $750,000 per year attached to the three-season term. The clubs were asking if a five-year deal, at less than $750,000 a season, would have been sufficient for pick No.7 under the free agency compensation formula.

Essendon, despite publicly threatening to match Brisbane's offer for Daniher, opted not to. The Bombers were more than comforted with the draft pick, which slid to No.9 after Western Bulldogs and Sydney, respectively, accessed Academy players Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Braeden Campbell at picks one and five.


The Bombers used the Daniher compensation pick on young gun Archie Perkins, in between Nik Cox at No.8 (their own ladder-position pick) and Zach Reid at No.10 (a pick traded by Carlton for Adam Saad).

Essendon's top-10 draftees Zach Reid, Archie Perkins and Nik Cox after the 2020 NAB AFL Draft. Picture: AFL Photos

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon sent a memo to all clubs on the eve of free agency last year, revealing "key determinants" of compensation were age of the player and average guaranteed payments. The memo said that "compensation" was applied to "a ranking list stratified into compensation bands – top five per cent – first round; next 10 per cent – end of first round; next 15 per cent – second round; next 20 per cent – end of second round".

"Other considerations" included: "if compensation considered materially anomalous an expert committee reviews and recommends changes to General Counsel".

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When published its late February article on Daniher, the  AFL said: "The AFL does not provide comment on individual player contracts and it is important to note all contracts and settlements lodged by all clubs for all players must be, and have been, approved by the AFL and are only approved if they are in accordance with AFL rules."