Neale Daniher accepts his Hall of Fame Legend trophy from his great mate Tim Watson. (Photo: AFL Photos)

It was an evening of high emotion as Essendon officially - and finally - elevated four of its favourite sons to Legend status during a magical Hall of Fame event on Thursday night, presented by Liberty.

Neale Daniher, a former captain and now famous for his fight against motor neurone disease, shared the spotlight with three other club heroes, with the late Dr Bruce Reid, and yesteryear's stars Dustin Fletcher and Gavin Wanganeen also unveiled as club Legends.

The night was two years in the making after the club declared the four would receive the honour way back in October, 2020, and - after two COVID-riddled years - it was finally able to come good on its promise with a fitting tribute where fans, past champions and club officials were able to celebrate the contributions of their champions.


The Daniher brothers were all at the event, as was Essendon royalty in Tim Watson, four-time premiership coach Kevin Sheedy, three-time flag hero Mark Harvey, 1993 Norm Smith medallist Michael Long and a host of other famous faces.

Daniher, 61, received his award to a rousing applause from all in attendance.

"Neale, I know you have a strong foot in the Melbourne camp as well, but the Daniher family, plenty of whom are here tonight, are true Essendon royalty," President Paul Brasher said.

"Your continued determination to live life to the fullest and face 'the Beast' of MND with your trademark humour and fierce courage is nothing short of inspiring.

Neale Daniher walks on stage during Thursday night's Hall of Fame event. (Photo: AFL Photos)

"And I would say the same of your family who are here tonight ... I can't properly convey how inspiring you are to many people in this room tonight, and quite frankly, the AFL world and to the broader Australian community."

In a career spanning a remarkable 23 seasons, Fletcher is one of only five players in League history to have reached the 400-game milestone. The defender starred in a golden era for full-forwards to become a dual premiership player (1993, 2000) and 2000 Crichton medallist. 

The other 'Baby Bomber recognised at the event was Wanganeen.

He played 127 of his 300 games for Essendon (he later captained Port Adelaide) and he's the only Bomber to have won a Brownlow Medal in a premiership season, with his 1993 triumph also making him the first Indigenous player to win the League’s highest individual honour.

Kevin Sheedy embraces newly elevated club Hall of Fame Legend Gavin Wanganeen. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Wanganeen retired as a member of the Essendon and Indigenous Teams of the Century and is a member of the AFL Hall of Fame.

Recap all the speeches and video features from a magical night below.