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Heppell hopes Daniher is back for North

Essendon key forward Joe Daniher is a chance to make his long-awaited AFL comeback in the Good Friday blockbuster against North Melbourne.

Heppell hopes Daniher is back for North

Essendon key forward Joe Daniher is a chance to make his long-awaited AFL comeback in the Good Friday blockbuster against North Melbourne.

JOE DANIHER of the Bombers runs with the ball during the AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Geelong Cats at MCG in Melbourne, Australia.
JOE DANIHER of the Bombers runs with the ball during the AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Geelong Cats at MCG in Melbourne, Australia. Picture:Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Joe Daniher's efforts at training are impressing Essendon captain Dyson Heppell, who hopes the key forward will play in their AFL Good Friday blockbuster.

The All Australian is a chance to make his long-awaited return against arch rivals North Melbourne.


Daniher did not play after round seven last season because of osteitis pubis.

He looked scratchy in the pre-season before a calf muscle injury sidelined him again.

But Heppell is confident that Daniher is close to playing senior football.

"It would be awesome to have him back soon," Heppell said.

"He took a big 'hanger' at training the other day and he's moving really well.

"I'd love to see him in there, but match committee will decide that best.

"Joe himself, he's pretty honest on where he's at, so he'll have a bit to say in that as well."

Coach John Worsfold has said Daniher could come back either through the AFL or VFL.

Another complication is the death last Friday of Daniher's grandfather Jim, the patriarch of the famous football clan.

This will be the first time that North play Essendon, their biggest rivals, in the marquee Good Friday slot.

North captain Jack Ziebell said the crowd size at Marvel Stadium would determine whether they play the Bombers annually on Good Friday.

The Kangaroos had their first win of the season last weekend and Essendon have won their last two after a dreadful start.

"That doesn't have to be said - it's a big game for both clubs," Ziebell said.

"The Bombers have been in good form the last couple of weeks and we got the monkey off the back last week as well.

"We're expecting it to be a fierce contest, no doubt, as it always is."

One of the keys will be livewire Essendon forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, who kicked a career-best seven goals in Saturday's win over Brisbane.

"He's probably the most naturally-gifted footballer I've seen," Heppell said.

"Really, with 'Walla', you just need to let him play with freedom."

AAP


AAP




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