Bombers put out welcome mat for Daniher

Essendon have promised no hard feelings when wantaway star Joe Daniher returns to training.
Essendon have promised no hard feelings when wantaway star Joe Daniher returns to training.

It might be a little awkward the first time Joe Daniher walks into Essendon's Tullamarine headquarters after his failed trade to Sydney, but the Bombers will bend over backwards to make their star forward feel at home again.

After two troubled years beset by groin problems, Daniher's heart was set on a fresh start with the Swans.

But list manager Adrian Dodoro was adamant he would hold the All-Australian to the final year of his contract unless Sydney came up with a blockbuster deal.

And the veteran trade negotiator didn't blink as Wednesday's 7.30pm AEDT deadline came and went.

It left Daniher and the club he and his family have such close ties with in a position where they need to mend some fences.

"Obviously he's a little bit disappointed," Dodoro said after his phone conversation with Daniher following the breakdown in negotiations.

"But Joey is a resilient young man and actually through this whole process we've grown to respect him a hell of a lot more for the person he is.

"We absolutely love him and we think he'll have a great year next year.

"Joey is a free agent next year and we're going to fight like hell to retain him.

"But if we're in this position in 12 months' time, that's the nature of the game and you have to accept that and move on.

"Having said that, we're really confident that we can provide the environment for Joey."

The Bombers were keen to secure a player in return for Daniher, but Sydney were intent on offering up draft picks only.

The Swans have pick five but strangely enough didn't offer it to Essendon, instead making pick nine and a future first-rounder their best deal.

"We went into it with an open mind but we set some really clear parameters with the Sydney Swans from the first day," Dodoro said.

"We were really consistent with what we said, we were honest from the first day and we stuck to our principles.

"Unfortunately we couldn't get a deal done for Joey."

While they'll have to work hard on a couple of strained relationships, Essendon have held onto two key players inside forward 50 after Orazio Fantasia's odd dalliance with Port Adelaide didn't go anywhere.

In trades that did go ahead, the Bombers picked up back-up ruckman Andrew Phillips from Carlton and midfielder Tom Cutler from Brisbane.

Australian Associated Press