Off-form Bombers ace playing sore in AFL

Jason Phelan and Roger Vaughan
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Essendon forward Joe Daniher has kicked more behinds than goals in seven AFL games this season

Essendon have revealed ongoing groin soreness is behind much-criticised forward Joe Daniher's slow start to the AFL season.

The Bombers spearhead kicked 65 goals last year to make the All-Australian team for the first time and take out his first club best-and-fairest award.

But with Essendon languishing in 15th place with a 2-5 record, Daniher has become a whipping boy in the media and with fans after kicking eight goals in seven games.

Bombers assistant coach Mark Harvey revealed Daniher underwent tests on Monday and key members of the football department would meet on Tuesday to discuss his immediate playing future.

"I think (his groin has) been catching up on him," Harvey told SEN.

"Over pre-season he had a groin issue, so we managed his training, but he got that right and strengthened the area around that.

"But I just think with the dynamics of playing since round one, it may be concerning him a little more than what it was.

"We'll have a discussion today and work out where we go from here."

Harvey wouldn't be drawn on reports Daniher is set spend a month on the sidelines due to the issue.

The Bombers have ample talent but are mired in the bottom four after Saturday's 23-point loss to Hawthorn.

Predictably, they were a major post-mortem topic during Fox Footy's On The Couch program on Monday night.

Commentator Garry Lyon singled out veteran defenders Brendon Goddard and Michael Hurley as two players who must lead Essendon out of their slump.

"The successful sides ... have embraced sacrifice and selflessness, preparedness to go outside their own role and do something for the good of the side," Lyon said.

"I'm not seeing that at Essendon, in fact, I'm seeing blokes taking easier options.

"We don't want to make it specifically about certain players but someone has to set a tone for this footy club.

"Brendon Goddard and Michael Hurley are the two who I think need to set the tone."

Essendon are the only side yet to win a third quarter this season and are down a whopping 136 points in that term.

"They're very one-trick, a very predictable side to play against, I reckon," Lyon said.

The Bombers face a danger game on Saturday against arch rivals Carlton.

While the Blues are winless, they will fancy their chances of an upset.