Main content

Roos ready for Daniher

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott is preparing as if Joe Daniher will not only play for Essendon on Good Friday, but also be "at his best".

Scott's been an unabashed fan of the Bombers spearhead since watching the son of a gun come through the junior ranks then become an AFL star.

Daniher (calf) trained without restriction on Tuesday morning and Essendon will select him at senior or VFL level this week.

"Our intel is he'll play. We did the calculations when they first announced his injury and realised that fell right when we played them on Good Friday," Scott told reporters.

"When he came through as a junior, I thought he was one of the most exciting prospects I'd ever seen, certainly as a key forward, so Joe at his best is an unbelievably good player. 

"We'll have to prepare for that, but we've also got the other challenges of (Anthony) McDonald-Tipungwuti, (Orazio) Fantasia, (Jake) Stringer – they've got a lot of firepower down there. 

"We're going to need to restrict supply to stand up defensively."

Making matters more difficult for Scott and his coaches is that lockdown defender Marley Williams (ankle) is still out and his replacement, Luke McDonald, needs to beat a striking charge to play.

Veteran Sam Wright, who is two VFL games back from a quad setback, will come in if McDonald is suspended.

Two other young defenders, Ben McKay (toe) and Tom Murphy (ankle), sustained injuries at the weekend, with McKay a chance to play but Murphy set to miss at least one game and likely more.

"We're yet to have our main training session and we had some guys perform pretty well last week and we rested Bailey Scott as well, so there's another one available to play," Scott said.

"We're still, as I mentioned last week, trying to work on the best mix probably all over the ground.

"Each week we face the challenge with our defence and it seems like every training session, every JLT game, every home and away game, we've lost a defender, so we've had to refashion that a little bit and we may need to again if we lose Luke." 

Both the Roos and Bombers have received performance-related criticism in the early rounds of the season, but are both fresh from impressive victories. 

Essendon is North's third Good Friday opponent in as many years since the AFL gave the concept the green light and the Roos are hopeful this week's match will be a sell-out. 

"We're trying to build a tradition here and Good Friday is only new and I think the fans take a little while to organise their Easter holidays," Scott said.

"But based on ticket sales so far, it's going to be a sell-out and it's looking like a fantastic game, with Essendon in really good form and us coming off the back of a win.

"It's a huge occasion, because we get the opportunity to play in a standalone big game, but it's also a huge occasion because it's more than just football. 

"This game is about such a great cause in the Royal Children's Hospital and the Good Friday Appeal, and it's something that's certainly an institution in Melbourne and Australia."