JOE Daniher’s solid training in the last few weeks is raising hopes that the Essendon star will return during the AFL pre-season.
Daniher is one of the Bombers’ most important players and they sorely missed him for the bulk of last season as they dropped out of the top eight.
The key forward only managed seven games before he was sidelined with osteitis pubis.
Teammate Tom Bellchambers said Daniher has looked solid on the track, particularly in the last fortnight or so.
“I reckon he’d be hoping (to return) at some point in the JLT – I’m not too sure,” Bellchambers said.
“He’s always out here, wanting to train and wanting to do more.
“It’s a conservative approach with Joe, obviously, being a long-term injury, but off the last couple of weeks I reckon he’d be hoping.
“He’s ramped up the training and he’s coping with it well.”
While Daniher was a glaring loss last year, Bellchambers managed a career-best 20 games and finished sixth in Essendon’s best and fairest voting.
“The belief was always there, it was just probably about my body being able to do it,” he said.
“It’s definitely a confidence builder.”
After having knee surgery in late January last year, this time Bellchambers has enjoyed an uninterrupted pre-season and also hopes to play in at least one of their two pre-season games.
The AFL’s new 6-6-6 positioning at each centre bounce means Bellchambers, recruit Zac Clarke and youngster Sam Draper loom as key players for the Bombers in the ruck.
“Dominant ruckmen are going to have a big influence on games, so it’s super- important,” Bellchambers said.
He added star GWS recruit Dylan Shiel is like a Rolls Royce on the field and expects captain Dyson Heppell to return to the main group in the next few days after hamstring tightness.
© AAP 2019