AFL 2019: Essendon forward Joe Daniher to play in Round 1 on modified minutes following 2018 injuries
In a major boost for the Bombers, who many are tipping to feature in the finals this season, Daniher will face GWS in the opening round. He played just seven games last year due to groin issues.
But after getting through the JLT Community Series, playing both games and kicking the opening goal of the pre-season against Carlton, coach John Worsfold said Daniher will face the Giants - as long as he recovers fully from training sessions over the next week.
“Absolutely (we’ll consider modified minutes). His program will dictate what he is ready for as we get closer to the season,” Worsfold said.
“Now he is on a program that we will be pretty strict with in terms of ‘prepping’ him for the whole year. So we will follow that in the lead-up (to the home-and-away season).”
Worsfold and the Bombers are well aware they will need to manage the 25-year-old in order for him to return to the heights of two years ago, when he helped inspire a run to September.
“The number one thing we wanted out of Joey (in the preseason games) was to see how he coped with full match play because he had done some match play at training, and it was ramping up his volume but at a higher intensity,” he said.
“He has pulled up really well out of that slow build, so that is the best part of it, and that was the absolute aim.
“He might explode out of the blocks (early) and be up and about because we know he is a talented player, but I don’t have that expectation.
“I want him to come out and play to the best of his ability and play his role for the team. I am confident he can do that, but that’s not necessarily kicking seven goals in Round 1.
“I don’t care if he doesn’t kick a big bag all year, as long as he is playing his role and functioning the way we want him to. But his talent says that is likely to happen at some point.”