Have a Red Hot Go – Terry Daniher

Australian Football celebrates its 140th anniversary in New South Wales this year after the founding of the NSW Football Association in Sydney in 1880.

To commemorate, 140 coaches, players, umpires, administrators and media personalities from both the Elite (VFL/AFL) and Community level will be inducted into the inaugural New South Wales Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Neil Cordy and Rod Gillett profile the nominees:

Terry Daniher

When Terry Daniher was traded to Essendon for Neville Fields in 1978, the Bombers had little idea what a bargain they had.

At the time Terry had played just 19 games in two years for South Melbourne. The Swans even threw in his brother Neale, who hadn’t played a game, as a sweetener.

Fast forward to 1992 and the Bombers could reflect on one of the deals and steals of the century.

In his 15 seasons at Windy Hill the easy going bloke from Ungarie added another 294 games to his tally, booted 469 goals, won the best and fairest (82’), the goalkicking (79’ and 83’) and All Australian honours (83’, 85’ and 88’ (captain).

But the stellar statistics only tell part of Terry’s story, arguably his biggest contribution was an intangible – leadership.

The pinnacle came in 1984 and 1985 when he captained Essendon to back to back premierships. When the Bombers named their 25 greatest players in 2002 Terry was listed at 11. No mean feat in a line-up that included names like John Coleman, Dick Reynolds, James Hird, Bill Hutchison and Tim Watson.

National selectors also recognised his talents as a leader when they appointed him as All Australian captain at the Bicentennial Carnival in Adelaide (1988) after leading NSW to victory over WA and pushing hosts SA close. He also captained the Sky Blues in their upset win over Victoria in 1990.

Terry was a skipper players loved to play alongside. His relaxed and knock about demeanour hid a fierce competitive spirit. He was strong, versatile and aggressive. When the pressure was on he was a man who could rally his team and lead from the front.

It wasn’t hard to where these traits came from. Terry is the eldest brother in football’s favourite family, the Danihers. He set the standard and Neale, Anthony and Chris followed in fine style. But football people from the Riverina know these attributes weren’t confined to the brothers, with the Danihers it was generational.

Terry’s grandfather Jim Snr was a champion footballer and helped establish the Ungarie football club in the 1920’s.

Terry’s father Jim Jnr was also an outstanding talent. He played Aussie Rules and Rugby League for

Chris & Terry Daniher in their Ungarie jumpers

Ungarie for more than a decade. His league skills were so good he attracted attention and offers from Sydney clubs including Manly-Warringah. The highlight came when he scored two tries representing Riverina against reigning world champions Great Britain in Wagga Wagga in 1954.

Three years after his heroics with the Steeden, Jim and Edna celebrated Terry’s birth and it didn’t take long to realise the apple hadn’t fallen too far from the tree. Terry took to footy like the proverbial duck to water winning several League best and fairest awards playing for Ungarie.

In 1975, the year before he was picked up by South Melbourne, he played for Ariah Park-Mirrool in the South West District Football League under former Swans captain and coach Rick Quade.

After 17 years in the VFL Terry returned to the Riverina as captain-coach of the Wagga Tigers, he led them to five premierships and six grand finals. He also coached NSW against Victoria at the MCG in 1993.

He then returned to Essendon as an assistant coach taking the reserves to a premiership in 1999 and was an assistant coach in the Bombers 2000 premiership. He then worked at an assistant at Collingwood (03’), St Kilda (04’ & 05’) and Carlton (06’ & 07’).

In 1998 he was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame and was named on the half-forward flank in Essendon’s Team of the Century.

Terry was selected on the half-forward flank NSW Greatest Team named last year at the Carbine Club function in Sydney.

This induction earnt him a nomination under the category of Elite Player for the AFL NSW Hall of Fame as part of the celebrations for the 140th year of Australian Football in NSW in 2020.

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