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Bombers to team up on Joe Daniher says Ben Rutten

Essendon coach Ben Rutten insists it will take a team effort to stop Joe Daniher in his first AFL match against his former club on Saturday night.

Rutten earmarked the likes of Aaron Francis, Jayden Laverde and Jordan Ridley to each have turns at manning the All-Australian key forward in the fixture at the Gabba.

It's one of the most anticipated grudge matches of the season but Rutten isn't buying into the hype.

"I've heard of him before," Rutten joked in relation to Daniher.

"We faced it in round two against (another former Bomber) Orazio (Fantasia) at Port Adelaide, he spent a lot of time here as well.

"But we're going to treat him (Daniher) as we do all the other Brisbane players."

Despite the large shadow Daniher casts over the match, and the knowledge the club possesses about the way he plays, Rutten said his coaching team hadn't put too much focus on him.

"Sometimes you can get a bit caught up in that," he said.

"They're a pretty well-balanced team across the board ... we're going to have our hands full."

Essendon's backline will be further bolstered this week by the likely inclusion of Mason Redman, who has recovered from a hamstring injury.

The Bombers struggled in the ruck during their narrow loss to Sydney last week and they come up against another formidable opponent in that department in Oscar McInerney.

Rutten said Peter Wright and Nik Cox needed more support from their midfielders to improve their clearance work against the Lions, and the Essendon coach had no qualms continuing to use the versatile Cox at stoppages when needed.

Rutten was confident that Cox would call Zach Merrett a teammate for a while yet, as reports surfaced this week that Port Adelaide had joined the queue of clubs wanting the star free agent's signature.

"We're really comfortable with where he's at and what we're seeing on field from him is a great indication of where his head's at - he's really engaged and committed," Rutten said of Merrett.

The Essendon coach suggested untried duo Nick Bryan and Zach Reid were in the mix for selection, while Patrick Ambrose (foot) and James Stewart (hamstring) were expected to be available in coming weeks.

And Rutten was optimistic key backman Michael Hurley would play at some stage this season after being stricken by a nasty hip infection earlier this year.