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Joe Daniher claims there was no single reason for his decision to move to the Brisbane Lions and insists he "thoroughly enjoyed" his time at Essendon.
The spearhead was on Monday unveiled as a Lions recruit after the Bombers on Friday chose not to match the Lions’ offer for the restricted free agent. It ended Daniher's eight years at Essendon, a club where his father, brother and three uncles all played.
Asked repeatedly to identify the reasons he had chosen a move to Brisbane – Sydney and Geelong had also courted the 2017 All-Australian – Daniher played a straight bat, but agreed that the Brisbane lifestyle and his previous relationship with Lions' head of medical services Peter Blanch and the Lions' "exciting talent" had come into consideration.
Joe Daniher is embarking on a fresh start at the Brisbane Lions. Credit:Jono Searle
He rejected the idea that mooted cultural issues at Tullamarine had shaped his decision to depart the Bombers.
"I've had a fantastic relationship with the Essendon Football Club. Not just in my playing days but as a supporter growing up. They've been incredibly supportive of me for a very long period of time," Daniher said in Brisbane.
"I spoke with the coach and the CEO after it was all done and dusted and got their full support. They understood why I needed a fresh start, needed a change. I can't thank them enough. There's a lot of people there that I'll continue to have relationships with. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Essendon Football Club."
Daniher agreed that the Lions had a track record in getting injury-prone players on the park consistently – Lincoln McCarthy being case in point. Groin issues have restricted Daniher to just 15 senior games across the last three seasons.
"They've got a fantastic track record in that regard. It doesn't mean it's always going to continue in that regard," he said.
Daniher added that just because the Lions had finished in the top four in both 2019 and 2020 didn't mean they would again contend for the premiership.
"Anything that's happened the year before doesn't guarantee anything that goes on into the future. Brisbane have had a great win-loss record in recent times but that doesn't guarantee you anything," he said.
Daniher played four matches for the Bombers late in the season, suggesting that he would have liked to have played more. He said that limitations of training caused by the special circumstances of a coronavirus-shaped season hadn't helped his cause.
"It has been challenging from an on-field perspective. As a footballer, all you want to do is go out and play and have a lot of fun and enjoyment playing. I've been starved of that in the last few years. From my point of view I'm really excited," Daniher said.
"I'm in a really good space physically. I think this year I was able to get a lot of work in. There were certainly challenges given the restrictions in the AFL landscape."
He refused to buy into talk that he was the "missing piece" of the Lions' flag puzzle, deferring to the need to get his training right from which point results would take care of themselves.
"It all starts with having strong, consistent work," he said.
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