Star Essendon key forward Joe Daniher’s AFL season has been cut short for a second straight year after his troublesome groin flared again.
The Bombers have ruled Daniher out for the rest of the season due to a recurrence of his osteitis pubis injury, which limited him to just seven games in 2018.
“Joe has experienced a return in symptoms over recent weeks, including some loss of power and strength in his groin area,” general manager of football Dan Richardson said in a statement on Thursday.
“While it’s incredibly disappointing to lose a player of Joe’s calibre for the remainder of the season, the decision was made with the long-term health and welfare of Joe as the utmost priority.”
That decision was made in consultation with specialists and the club’s medical and high-performance teams, with surgery now the likely route for the Bombers spearhead.
Daniher’s injury drama comes two days after Essendon confirmed that reigning club best and fairest champion Devon Smith wouldn’t return from knee surgery until 2020.
The Bombers are struggling for consistency with four wins from nine games in a season where they had high hopes of a finals return.
Daniher and Smith’s season-ending layoffs are a severe dent to this year’s campaign ahead of their annual Dreamtime At The ‘G clash with Richmond on Saturday night.
The 25-year-old Daniher had shown glimpses this year of the form that catapulted him to 2017 All-Australian selection, starring with four goals in the Bombers’ narrow Anzac Day loss to Collingwood.
His AFL return came a week earlier against North Melbourne, with the Bombers fined $20,000 for making him a late recall to their team for the Good Friday win over North Melbourne.
Since his comeback, Daniher had played four of the last five games, kicking seven goals, and was rested a fortnight ago for the narrow loss to Sydney.
Daniher took six marks and sprayed four behinds last Saturday night in the win over Fremantle.
His loss is somewhat mitigated by the impending return of fellow forwards Shaun McKernan (hamstring) and Mitch Brown (wrist) from injury.
Daniher, 25, has played 104 games since his 2013 debut.
© AAP 2019