Cats show interest in picking up Daniher

Geelong is among the clubs to have expressed interest in Essendon star forward and free agent Joe Daniher.

The Cats and the Brisbane Lions are two of the clubs that have shown interest in Daniher, whom sources said remained undecided about his future and whether he will remain with Essendon next year, having sought a trade to the Swans last year.

Joe Daniher leads the Bombers off the field after their loss to the Power. Credit:Getty Images

Geelong has the ability to create some room in the salary cap, given the imminent retirement of Gary Ablett, while their highest paid trio – Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood and Tom Hawkins – are all 30 or older, with Hawkins coming out of contract this year. Unlike many clubs, Geelong does not carry "bad" contracts in which the player is paid excessively but often injured or not playing a level commensurate with their remuneration and they have several value-for-money players in their best 22.

Daniher, 26, is one of a number of free agents whom the Cats have shown interest in recruiting, along with Adelaide midfielder Brad Crouch and, in another surprising development, Melbourne's ex-skipper Jack Viney.

Daniher, Crouch and Viney are all restricted free agents, meaning their current clubs have the option of matching a bid and forcing a trade – an outcome that has not happened yet, with the partial exception of Dangerfield in 2015, when the Crows made clear they could match and the clubs agreed on a trade without free agency being utilised.

Daniher would form a remarkable two-pronged attack for the Cats if they succeeded in luring him to Geelong. Having expressed a wish to get out of Melbourne last year, he has been living in Daylesford.

Daniher and his management have been gathering information about the interest from other clubs. Essendon remain keen to retain Daniher, who has not ruled out staying with the club where his family has such remarkable heritage and he has played since 2013.

Daniher's recent return to the Essendon side from a prolonged absence with a groin injury and a solid first-up effort against the Hawks – when he marked strongly, moved fluently and booted 3.3 -have underscored his value in the competition and reminded clubs of his capabilities if he gets on the field.

The Swans were Daniher's club of choice in 2019 but Sydney and Essendon could not come to terms on a deal, an outcome reflecting both Sydney's concerns about giving up "overs" in a trade for a player, who had hardly played since 2017, and Essendon's unwillingness to part with their star forward unless the Dons received an offer that was too good to refuse.

Daniher played three of Essendon's past four matches, lining up against Hawthorn, West Coast and Port Adelaide, taking 10, six and three marks in those games, respectively, showing no restrictions in his movement, even though he did not kick a goal against the Eagles or Port.

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