Joey D ‘cherry ripe’ to don sash in Round 1

Dylan Shiel looks right at home wearing Essendon colours in the middle of the MCG. Picture: Jason Edwards
Dylan Shiel looks right at home wearing Essendon colours in the middle of the MCG. Picture: Jason Edwards

ESSENDON is confident Joe Daniher will be "cherry ripe" for Round 1 after having his 2018 campaign wiped out by groin problems, believing the time off could prove a blessing in disguise for the key forward.

What was diagnosed as early onset of osteitis pubis and initially expected to see Daniher miss just four weeks ended up sidelining the 24-year-old for the rest of the season after Round 7.

Daniher kicked 65 goals in 2017 but finished this year with just eight majors as he failed to make an anticipated late-season return.

Speaking at the launch of Essendon's new sponsorship agreement with Amart Furniture, Bombers coach John Worsfold said Daniher was "fresh" and could benefit from spending most of the year away from the playing field.

"Often what I've seen in my time in footy, the young, really talented big young kids they do play early because they're so talented but it takes a big toll on their bodies because they're getting hit by guys that are 20kg heavier than them while they're still growing," Worsfold said.

"(This) has got Joe's injury right but it's helped his whole body grow without getting bashed so I think it will be a massive benefit for the rest of his footy career. He's been doing a mountain of work and can't wait to get back into it.

"He hasn't done full training yet and played a game so it's hard to tell where he's at.

"(But) his program so far is tracking along exactly how we want it."

The Bombers secured Greater Western Sydney's Dylan Shiel during the recent trade period, with Daniher shaping as a virtual recruit to join the new midfielder next year.

"He's like another new recruit as well for 2019," Essendon captain Dyson Heppell said of Daniher.

"He's been at the club most days throughout the off-season and starting to get his body right. He'll progress slowly throughout the pre-season when we come back but hopefully he'll be cherry ripe come Round 1."

The Bombers also confirmed defender Mark Baguley, 31, has signed a one-year deal to play on next year.