AFL Rd 17 - Port Adelaide v Essendon
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Ben Rutten, Senior Assistant Coach and Team Defence of the Bombers during the 2020 AFL Round 17 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Essendon Bombers at Adelaide Oval on September 12, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Matt Turner/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Melbourne great Garry Lyon believes soon-to-be Essendon coach Ben Rutten must address the future of star forward Joe Daniher immediately.

Daniher remains without a contract for the 2021 season, with Rutten taking over the reigns from John Worsfold for next year while several key names are yet to commit to the club past 2020.

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The Bombers have faced plenty of criticism for missing out on a top-eight finish this season, with Lyon stating Rutten must get on top of Daniher’s situation as his first call as coach.

“Ben Rutten’s challenges are great and numerous,” he said on AFL Nation.

“Implementing a game style is one thing but what he needs to do is determine where his list is right now and Joe Daniher is the first thing he needs to confront on that.

“If Joe came into the office and says ‘I love this club and I don’t want to go anyone and lead the charge’, Ben Rutten would be the happiest man in the world.

“If (Daniher) comes in and starts prevaricating, then he’s not what you want I don’t think. What are you going to do? Essendon has got to get into the market (for another forward) if Joe (doesn’t want to be there).

“This is the hard thing isn’t it, when you’ve got someone like Joe … we’ve got no idea whether he’s committed.

“Amongst everything, there’s still some flaw in his games. He can mark the damn thing as good as anyone and then kick it as bad as anyone.

“Don’t tell me Joe Daniher is a star. Joe isn’t a star because he can’t kick for goal.”

Daniher is a restricted free agent as the 2020 season looks to conclude, with Geelong and Brisbane rumoured to be interest in his services.