Essendon and Brisbane have met over Joe Daniher’s move to the Lions.
Despite Daniher being a restricted free agent, Lions list manager Dom Ambrogio and Bombers counterpart Adrian Dodoro have sat down for talks via Zoom on the wantaway forward.
Heavyweight player manager Tom Petroro, general manager of TLA, is also active and has held his own separate talks with Ambrogio and Dodoro – two of the fiercest negotiators in the industry.
But the early discussions between the Lions and Essendon have been far from smooth.
While Dodoro made headlines for his ambitious list of trade targets at Carlton in exchange for Adam Saad, sources said a similar collection of bold targets were put across the Lions’ desk despite Daniher’s restricted free agency status.
While the negotiations aren’t exactly flying along and Daniher’s shift from Essendon looms as a struggle for the second time in 12 months, both sides are taking comfort from the fact the lines of communication are, at least, open.
Complexity envelopes Daniher’s protracted move because Essendon and Brisbane are finding it hard to agree on the injury-plagued forward’s worth.
Do you value him at his peak? His wretched last three seasons? Even in his four games this year there was a wild difference between his eye-catching return in Round 14 and his other performances.
Essendon, Brisbane - and even Daniher himself - have to establish what his value is and that is the touchpoint.
The Lions contract offer for Daniher of $3 million over five years is widely rumoured. Insiders believe that would most likely equate to an end of first round compensation pick, at best, for the Bombers. The Dons want more.
The Lions will have pick 18 if they win the premiership. That also isn’t satisfying Essendon at this stage.
It all goes into the mix to help explain why the Lions are entertaining a trade to get Daniher to the Gabba.
Dodoro and Essendon can match the Lions deal, while the Lions might want flexibility in the way their Daniher contract is structured, whether it be back-ended, front-ended or incentive based.
Acquiring Daniher as a restricted free agent means the money is set for the life of the contract.
For now, it’s shadow boxing. But when the clock starts ticking, will the gloves come off?