Bombers plotting Anzac Day ruck battle

Michael Ramsey
Essendon are set to deploy big Joe Daniher in the ruck against Collingwood in the Anzac Day clash

Joe Daniher could be set for another starring role in the Anzac Day AFL blockbuster with Essendon set to deploy him in the ruck against in-form Collingwood big man Brodie Grundy.

Grundy has been the competition's best ruckman in the early stage of the season, averaging 36 hitouts, 22 disposals and seven clearances per game.

Tom Bellchambers is set to shoulder the majority of the ruck load for the Bombers in Wednesday's clash at the MCG.

But Daniher, who claimed the Anzac Medal as best afield in the Bombers' 18-point triumph last year, looms as an X-factor at the stoppages.

The two-metre spearhead has had a quiet start to the season but could be thrown into the ruck more often to help curb the dynamic Grundy.

"He may do and he could do," Bombers coach John Worsfold said on Wednesday.

"It's a bit of a workload thing for Joe too. We're very conscious that as a young key position player, he carries a pretty big workload on the forward line and we're looking after his long-term career by not overworking him through the ruck as well.

"We're constantly searching for that balance but Joe in the last couple of weeks has gone into the ruck more than he did in the first couple of rounds."

Daniher booted 65 goals last season but is yet to have the same game-breaking influence for the Bombers, who are 13th on the ladder with two wins and two losses.

"I don't think he's hit his peak form but he hasn't been poor," Worsfold said.

"Joe knows if he keeps working at it, his best footy will come."

Ever-consistent midfielder Steele Sidebottom looms as another Magpie the Bombers must restrict if they are to claim Anzac Day honours.

The 27-year-old had a career-high 43 disposals during Collingwood's win over Adelaide last week while also restricting Rory Sloane at the stoppages.

"Sidebottom's a tagger but we have to tag him, so we'll use Zach Merrett to tag Sidebottom and everyone will be happy," Worsfold joked.

"That's all I'll ask of my tagger - tag Sidebottom and get 40 (disposals)."