Port Adelaide great Warren Tredrea says Joe Daniher’s latest calf injury could be the final straw in his Essendon career, if it sidelines him for the remainder of the season.
After gradually ramping up his recovery from a long-term groin injury, Daniher suffered a setback this week, with a minor calf strain to sideline him from any running activities for 10-14 days.
While Essendon is optimistic that the star forward will be able to make it onto the park this season, Tredrea said that the injury could be a sign that Daniher isn’t still fully confident in his body and in the club’s program for him.
“There’s the medical and physical side of injury, but don’t underestimate the mental side,” Tredrea told Wide World of Sports’ Talk of the Town.
“If you’re inhibiting yourself and if you don’t have the full confidence to do stuff, then I think you can also find yourself getting injured in that way because you’re changing running plans or you’re a little bit cautious.
“At the end of the day, Essendon has thrown everything at this, and if this a long-term injury (and) it’s going to keep him out for the rest of the year, I think the writing is on the wall and he’ll be looking for further options.
“If he goes to Sydney, you go to Sydney with a whole new football program, but also a fresh mindset, which I think would help him get over it.
“There’s been numerous players over the journey who have struggled with injury, gone elsewhere and had a fresh start and gone really well.
“As much as the Bombers would hate to lose him, for me it looks a little inevitable. If he can’t get on the park, then his future probably is elsewhere.”
If Daniher is to move to a new club in the off-season, Tredrea said that clubs would be unwise to make an initial commitment of more than three years.
“The maximum I’d expose my club to is three years,” he said.
“It wouldn’t be the deal that was on offer last year, let’s be honest. It would be good money, but it would have really big triggers.
“I think he’d be on a set salary, it might be $400,000, but then if he hits his triggers, he goes into the stratosphere that we know his best footy can get to.
“He’s got to get himself right, and I think it’s elsewhere.
“The next club, if he does go elsewhere, they’re going to get a bargain player and someone who’s going to be hungry to prove a point, but they’re also getting someone with risk.”
While Daniher’s latest injury setback is a disappointing outcome, Essendon great Matthew Lloyd revealed that the positive is that his long-term groin issues appear to be in the past.
“I spoke to some people today who said he was training really, really well,” Lloyd told Footy Classified.
“So the positive is that his groins aren’t sore, that’s the big positive, but the negative is that he’s done a calf and he’s going to miss four weeks.”
Despite Tredrea’s assertion that Daniher should play elsewhere, Lloyd suggested that the Sydney Swans, the club who were in for the left-footer last year, can no longer afford to take him on due to the injury concerns of their own contracted players.
“The Sydney Swans, I don’t believe they can put their hand up again for Joe Daniher this time around when you’ve got this going on,” he said.
“Lance Franklin, hamstring injuries which are becoming chronic, Sam Reid consistently injured and contracted until the end of 2020, Tom McCartin head issues and contracted until the end of 2021.
“I don’t believe you can then throw Joe Daniher into the mix.
“The amount of money that would be pooled in between four players who have those injuries, I just don’t think they can do it.”
With Daniher out of contract at the end of 2020, Lloyd suggested that the Bombers would adopt a wait-and-see approach on what rival clubs offer the star forward.
“I think Essendon will just leave it and wait for Joe and say what do you want to do,” he said.
“Say for example, if he’s on $400,000 and a club offers him $450,000, Essendon can match that.
“If they offer him $700,000, which Essendon wouldn’t want to match, they’ll get a first-round pick (in compensation) for him, which this time around I’d think you take.”