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Daniher 'up and about'

BTV: Media Conference | Worsfold - April 22 Senior coach John Worsfold spoke to the media at The Hangar.
(Daniher) will train today and after today we’ll get a better assessment how he’s tracking."
John Worsfold

Essendon coach John Worsfold says star forward Joe Daniher has pulled up well from his first senior game in nearly a year, but the club is yet to finalise its plans for him this week.

Daniher was an unexpected late inclusion for the side’s 58-point thrashing of North Melbourne after it was initially decided to send him to the VFL team’s game on Saturday.

While the outcome allows Daniher an extra day to prepare for Essendon’s mouth-watering ANZAC Day clash with Collingwood on Thursday, Worsfold couldn’t confirm whether or not the forward will line up given the “massively” altered plan.

“He’s up and about, really happy. He’ll train today and after today we’ll get a better assessment how he’s tracking,” Worsfold said on Monday.

“It was a fine line (whether we played him or not), we spoke fairly heavily about what is the best program and one option was that he did play on Friday.

“But we hadn’t progressed too far beyond what that meant because we ended up deciding that we felt Saturday was potentially the better option for him.

“So now we reassess that post-training today.”

It was a promising performance from Daniher in his first AFL game since round seven last year as he played freely to gather 10 disposals, five marks and two goals – including a booming set shot from the centre square.

There is no doubt that Daniher will take plenty of benefit out of the hit-out, but Worsfold said there is plenty to play out before he sits down to determine the best side to take on the in-form Magpies.

“No one’s a definite until we get through match committee today and until we get through main training today.

“Would we like Joe out there? Yeah, absolutely, but we’ve got a process we go through every week in terms of signing off which players are available and (deciding) how we pull that together to pick the best team.”

One Bomber who could be in the mix to break into the team is young forward Jayden Laverde, who was brilliant in his return from an ankle injury the VFL Bombers’ 94-point thumping of North Melbourne.

Laverde booted six goals from 19 disposals and Worsfold said the club was rapt with his effort, refusing to rule out a possible return to the side despite the dazzling form of the team’s forward line.

“I wouldn’t say it’s hard to crack into (the forward line). All we expect from all of our players in the VFL is to play their best footy and be available for us.

“Young Brayden Ham (who debuted last week) came into the side because of what he was doing in the VFL.

“He would have said it’s going to be almost impossible to crack into that line-up for a long time, and all of a sudden he’s in and played his role really well.

“Jayden’s aware of all that and we’re rapt that he bounced back from a pretty severe ankle injury to perform so well.”

Laverde (left) celebrates one of his six goals at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.

Worsfold said while the opportunity to play in the match against Collingwood is special, it is important to approach the annual clash with consistency.

“I don’t circle it in terms of our football preparation, it’s on my calendar because it’s a special day.

“Same as Good Friday – we were fortunate and privileged to be part of Good Friday – but our preparation and mindset was to play. That was part of being a part of that day; to go out and perform at our best.

“Anzac Day is the same. We’re really appreciative of what we’ve been a part of that Kevin Sheedy was a big part of putting onto the sporting calendar in Australia.

“We’ve got to go out and play at our best.”

Both clubs will join forces again in support of the ANZAC Appeal this week.

99-year-old World War II veteran Bob Semple, one of the last remaining Rats of Tobruk, will address the club at The Hangar on Wednesday and Worsfold said it will provide a crucial chance for the players to pay their respect.

“The players love to have those little opportunities to show the respect for anyone who has fought for our country.

“One way is to perform really well on ANZAC Day, get out there and be part of the day.

“The other way is when we can show our respect to someone personally like we’ll do on Wednesday.”