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Top Don to stay close to home

Simon Conway  October 7, 2017 11:50 AM

BTV: The Crichton Panel | John Worsfold Woosha dropped by The Crichton Panel to chat with Julian de Stoop & Scott Lucas.

Essendon Coach John Worsfold expects Crichton Medal winner Joe Daniher to spend less time in the ruck during the 2018 season.

Daniher booted a career-best 65 goals last season – the third best tally in the competition.

The All Australian was also the only member of the top ten leading goal kickers to spend significant time in the ruck and away from the forward 50.

But Worsfold expects that to change next year.

“I have a vision that Joe doesn’t ruck at all,” he told The Crichton Panel.

“We’ve got to work through what the team needs and I think we saw that with Richmond.

“(Shaun) Grigg could have sat out on the wing and played the whole game and racked up more possessions, but he played a role for Richmond in the ruck and he committed to doing that.

“That’s the great thing about Joe – he will say ‘whatever this team needs to be a premiership team I will try and play that role to the best of my ability'.

“Ultimately I think he’s just too valuable as a dangerous target inside 50 and I know teams are pretty happy when he’s in the ruck.”

Daniher led the Bombers to their best scoring season since 2011.

The side averaged nearly 14 goals per game to be ranked seventh in attack in the competition.

But the side was ranked 12th for points conceded and was one of only seven sides to give up more than 2,000 points during the home and away season.

Worsfold said defence all over the field would be a key focus during the pre-season.

“You’re looking to build an all-round team,” he said.

“This year we had a very strong focus on improving our ability to score.

“I had a lot of feedback that Essendon hadn’t kicked good scores for a long period of time.

“We added to our forward line with Josh Green and James Stewart, we saw (Josh) Begley up there later in the year, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti played forward this year – and they really worked well together – (and) obviously Cale Hooker as well.

“The area we’ve got to improve is defensively. 

“That’s not our backline – that’s our team defence, how we lock the ball in our forward line, how we stop teams scoring when they win it out of clearances … so that’s what we’ll have a fair focus on this year.”