MIDFIELDER Zach Merrett says he hopes to see Joe Daniher at Essendon next year amid ongoing speculation around the key forward’s future.
Daniher has been linked to a move to Sydney since a meeting with Swans chief executive Tom Harley in August and hasn’t definitively said he will be at the Bombers long-term.
“Joe’s obviously got to make his mind up himself,” Merrett said on Wednesday.
“I think he’s made it pretty clear that he’s going to have a bit of time away and decide what he wants to do with his footy going forward.
“So the club’s fully supportive of Joe and whatever he does and I hope that he’s hopefully at Essendon next year.”
An All-Australian in 2017, Daniher has been restricted to just 11 games over the past two seasons through injury, with a groin issue ending his 2019 season early.
Speaking at NAB’s unveiling of a Tayla Harris statue at Federation Square, Merrett acknowledged the difficulty of Melbourne’s footy “bubble”, but said he believed it would be a tough call for Daniher to leave the Bombers.
“I’m not too sure, I mean, he’s got a lot of friends and family in Melbourne,” Merrett said.
“So although it is a bit of a footy bubble, I’m sure he loves being supported by his close family and friends and he’s got some great relationships at the Essendon footy club.
“So I think it’d be a pretty tough decision to walk away but he’s got to make up his own mind.”
Daniher was eligible as a father-son selection for both Essendon and Sydney before joining the Bombers in the 2012 AFL draft.
He has since played 104 games for the Bombers and Merrett said the club would be supportive of the forward taking his time to consider his future.
“I think it’s the reality of the industry is you have to put yourself first at times,” Merrett said.
“And Joe’s been enormous for the Essendon footy club but he’s had a pretty trying couple of years recently.
“So I think it’s up to him what he wants to do and I’m sure the club will be very supportive of him.”
© AAP 2019