Players tell Bombers: Hold Joe to his contract
ESSENDON players are lobbying the club to hold Joe Daniher to his contract.
Daniher last week confirmed months of speculation by requesting a trade to Sydney, despite having a year to run on his Bomber deal.
The key forward has left for an overseas holiday having triggered a fortnight of tense negotiations between the Dons and the Swans.
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But Daniher's Essendon teammates aren't taking the news lying down, with several urging club chiefs to do everything in their power to keep Daniher.
The collective plea comes after skipper Dyson Heppell had breakfast on Thursday morning with Orazio Fantasia in what was said to be a final attempt to keep Fantasia in red and black.
By lunchtime, Fantasia had told Essendon he was staying.
Fantasia's decision to turn his back on Port Adelaide and stay put is seen as unrelated, but he and Daniher were both in Essendon's leadership group last season.
Fantasia's current Essendon contract doesn't expire until the end of 2021.
Essendon and Sydney have met three times to negotiate over Daniher's future, but Dons list manager Adrian Dodoro this morning gave the strongest sign yet his club wouldn't let Daniher leave for the Swans.
Dodoro said the 2017 All-Australian, who has battled a complex groin injury for most of the past two and a half years, was currently irreplaceable.
"Our position hasn't changed. We're really clear, we don't think this draft will replace a guy of Joey's ilk - 203cm, gun key forward, they're just so hard to find," Dodoro said.
"We, as recruiters and list managers, look at the quality of what's in the actual draft coming up. It's about replacing a key forward and at this point he's irreplaceable for us.
"It's like owning a house, people knock on your door and say they want to buy your house - it's up to them to tell us what they'll pay for it."
Dodoro was confident Daniher could recapture his best form for the Bombers should be made to stay like Tim Kelly did at Geelong 12 months ago.
"He's so highly valued … once we get over this period we think there's no reason why Joey can't fall back in love with the club," he said.
Dodoro added he had some nervous moments before Fantasia decided against a move to Port Adelaide, and described debate over inquiries over Collingwood's Mason Cox as "all fun and games".
Asked if Essendon had any other trade moves planned, he said: "If there's any good ruckmen out there we'd like to talk to them, there's no doubt about that."