It might be a little awkward the first time Joe Daniher walks into Essendon's Tullamarine headquarters after his failed trade to Sydney, but the Bombers will bend over backwards to make their star forward feel at home again.
After two troubled years beset by groin problems, Daniher's heart was set on a fresh start with the Swans.
But list manager Adrian Dodoro was adamant he would hold the All-Australian to the final year of his contract unless Sydney came up with a blockbuster deal.
And the veteran trade negotiator didn't blink as Wednesday's 7.30pm AEDT deadline came and went.
Daniher's non-move dominated the wash up to a a frenetic end to the trade period, leaving the Bombers with a star player who had made it abundantly clear he didn't want to be there.
“It’s awkward, there will be nervous times when he goes back to the club,” Kane Cornes told AFL Trade Radio.
Fans labelled the whole situation "embarrassing" and laid blame for the failed deal at the hands of both clubs.
Didn't have to necessarily be a Swans player as like for like. Swans could have orchestrated 3 or 4 club mega trade to get a good, tall forward from another club as part of any deal. Swans simply underestimated Dons resolve to hold Daniher. In fact a very embarrassing outcome— Rob Leary (@Eggbert27) October 16, 2019
the swans offered a fair deal some would say overs for a player who is injury prone and hasn't played in 2 years bombers asking for 3 first round picks is just embarrassing. they have let daniher down big time.. and now they are the biggest laughing stock of the AFL #AFLTrade— D-X (@SPYMASTERDX) October 16, 2019
What? The Swans are lucky they don’t sell papers in Sydney and Melbourne, because of it they’ll escape the blowback of their utterly embarrassing and incompetent pursuit of Daniher.— The Ian Prender-Cast (@ThePrender_Cast) October 16, 2019
This #AFLTrade period has turned into a debacle … for several clubs. The Joe Daniher deal is apparently off the table while Sydney and Carlton have been left in limbo on other key trades. Latest here: https://t.co/tlMHRHCC3o— Daniel Sankey (@Daniel_Sankey) October 16, 2019
Essendon had a list of 12 players, the swans absolutely embarrassing in this deal, Daniher is contracted they needed to cough up, they didn't & have made Daniher look silly. #gardenpath— Mark Alvey (@alvey5) October 16, 2019
Swans have let Daniher down big time, Tom Harley embarrassing— Mark Alvey (@alvey5) October 16, 2019
This is embarrassing from Essendon and Sydney tbh. Essendon I think have been completely unreasonable. Sydney shouldn’t be holding Tom and Zak based on the Daniher deal. Bad areas.— Robot Queen (@imogenrq) October 16, 2019
Daniher will now likely have to mend some fences at the club where he and his family have such close ties.
"Obviously he's a little bit disappointed," Dodoro said after his phone conversation with Daniher following the breakdown in negotiations.
"But Joey is a resilient young man and actually through this whole process we've grown to respect him a hell of a lot more for the person he is.
"We absolutely love him and we think he'll have a great year next year.
"Joey is a free agent next year and we're going to fight like hell to retain him.
"But if we're in this position in 12 months' time, that's the nature of the game and you have to accept that and move on.
"Having said that, we're really confident that we can provide the environment for Joey."
The Bombers were keen to secure a player in return for Daniher, but Sydney were intent on offering up draft picks only.
The Swans have pick five but strangely enough didn't offer it to Essendon, instead making pick nine and a future first-rounder their best deal.
"We went into it with an open mind but we set some really clear parameters with the Sydney Swans from the first day," Dodoro said.
"We were really consistent with what we said, we were honest from the first day and we stuck to our principles.
"Unfortunately we couldn't get a deal done for Joey."
While they'll have to work hard on a couple of strained relationships, Essendon have held onto two key players inside forward 50 after Orazio Fantasia's odd dalliance with Port Adelaide didn't go anywhere.
In trades that did go ahead, the Bombers picked up back-up ruckman Andrew Phillips from Carlton and midfielder Tom Cutler from Brisbane.