Daniher the answer to unleash Hipwood

Big-marking Brisbane Lion Eric Hipwood will have the most to benefit from Joe Daniher’s potential move to Brisbane according to his captain Dayne Zorko.

Restricted free agent Daniher has nominated Brisbane as his preferred destination, and provided the Lions and Essendon can agree to a deal, the 26-year-old forward will head to Queensland to continue his career.

Should he stay fit, Daniher, who has been injury plagued the past two seasons, will add another tall weapon to Brisbane’s forward line and allow Hipwood to be a marking option for the Lions further up the ground.

“Joe will be another target, and it’ll give us more flexibility as well,” Zorko said.

“He’s obviously a fraction bigger than Eric at the moment in terms of body size, and that might free up Eric to get up the ground a bit more and not have to be that focal point up forward which I think he’ll certainly benefit from.”

Zorko said Daniher could also “pinch-hit” in the ruck for Brisbane.

“We’ll see how his body holds up, but our medical staff have been fantastic in the way they’ve been able to get players from other clubs to train for starters and then get them through a season so I’m expecting them to get the job done with Joe as well,” he said.

“Hopefully he’ll be a great signing for us when it eventuates.”

Former Hawthorn star Grant Birchall is one of those players whose career has been prolonged by the Lions’ medical staff.

Despite injuring his hamstring in Brisbane’s season-ending 40-point loss to Geelong last Saturday, 32-year-old Birchall played in 16 of the Lions’ 19 matches this season.

It was enough games to trigger an extension in the veteran defender’s Lions contract.

“I’ve got plenty of time to recover from the injury,” said Birchall, who will have scans on Friday to determine the extent of the damage.

“I’ll go around again and have another crack at it.”

Eric Hipwood’s marking prowess could be a weapon for the Lions when Joe Daniher joins Brisbane (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Birchall tipped Daniher – who has only played 15 matches for the Bombers in the past three seasons – to add “a fair bit” to the Lions.

“He’s a fair player when he’s up and going,” Birchall said of Daniher.

“I’m sure our medical staff was one of the reasons why he wanted to come up here.

“He’s got a really good relationship with our head physio Peter Blanch so we’re in a really good spot.”

Zorko said Daniher’s desire to play for the Lions was further proof that Brisbane was now a preferred destination for good players.

“It’s great that these big names are wanting to come to Brisbane,” Zorko said.

“They’re seeing from the outside what culture and what standards we’re setting, and I think we’re showing that on the field and that’s something that other players want to be a part of.”

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