Brisbane coach Chris Fagan will release key forward Eric Hipwood further up the ground as he eyes a role close to goal for boom recruit Joe Daniher in the AFL club’s premiership push this season.
Injury-riddled Daniher has managed just 15 games in the last three years but has impressed the Lions since arriving from Essendon via free agency in the off-season.
All going to plan, the 26-year-old will link up with Hipwood in attack, with Fagan also flagging the prospect of Dan McStay or two-gamer Tom Fullarton playing as a third tall.
“Joey will play a little bit closer to goal and Eric will get up the ground a little bit more,” Fagan told SEN radio on Friday.
“Eric’s really athletic and that’s probably where he plays his best football.
“That’s the plan at this stage and we’ll see how it all unfolds in our pre-season games as they learn to work together.”
Persistent groin troubles and a calf setback last year have restricted Daniher’s output since his career-best 65-goal haul with the Bombers in 2017.
But Fagan said Daniher had not missed a beat since joining the Lions.
“He was obviously on the mend towards the end of the year last year and he’s had a good break, no setbacks at all, and has done every session,” Fagan said.
“He seems to be enjoying himself and getting on well with his new teammates.”
Fagan said fellow injury-plagued recruit Nakia Cockatoo was unable to train before Christmas and has been on a slightly modified program.
The 24-year-old former Geelong livewire has since completed most skill sessions and featured across half-back in match practice.
“He’s a powerful, clever player and hopefully, if we can keep him on the track, he’ll have a good influence,” Fagan said.