Terry Daniher: One of the Greatest of All Time

Terrance “Terry” John Daniher is one of the all-time greats of Australian Rules football.

He was born on 15th August 1957 and played for the South Melbourne Football club and Essendon Football club in the Australian Football League (AFL). However, initially he played for the Ungarie Football Netball Club in Northern Riverina Football Netball League (NRFNL).
Terry Daniher

Terry Daniher spent a short time with South Melbourne and then moved to Essendon where he played till his retirement. Throughout his career, he received a lot of recognition for his skills and contribution towards the game. He was Essendon’s best and fairest and led the team to two premierships back to back.

After retirement from professional football, Terry Daniher did not stop playing and joined the Wagga Tigers in the Riverina Football League. He led the Tigers to five premierships as their captain and coach. After he stopped playing, Terry Daniher was an assistant coach for Essendon, Collingwood and the Carlton Football Club.

After he retired from coaching, Terry Daniher dedicated himself to looking after the cleaning business that he started with his brothers. However, all of his achievements in the field of football ensured Terry Daniher a place in the Australian Football Hall of Fame and in the Wagga Wagga Sporting Hall of Fame.

Early Life

One of the greatest centre half forwards in Australian Rules football was born to James and Edna Terry Daniher. Terry Daniher was born in West Wyalong, New South Wales at the West Wyalong Base Hospital and was the eldest of his siblings. Terry Daniher, along with his brothers, worked at the family farm after completing his early education from Joseph’s Catholic School and Ungarie Central School.

Terrance showed love for football at an early age and played in the Northern Riverina Football League. Terry Daniher’s three brothers, Neale, Anthony and Chris, also played football for the NRFL. The Ungarie Football club that the brothers used to play for was formed in 1912. After the brothers found success in football, the club became famous and still is for producing four fine football players, the Terry Daniher brothers.

He used to play Aussie rules football on weekends while at school carnivals he would play rugby league. In his early career for the NRFL, he won the club’s Best and Fairest award quite a few times. He later switched to the South West District Football League to play for the Ariah Park-Mirrool in 1975. This is the same season when Terry Daniher was offered an opportunity to be a Swan and play for the South Melbourne football club.

Playing Career

With the South Melbourne Swans.
Terry Daniher was recruited by the South Melbourne football club in 1976. His career with the Swans was a relatively short one and consisted of 19 games in which he scored 22 goals. During that time, the Swans were struggling with recruiting good players. Terry Daniher proved his skills and drove the team to the finals in 1977. However, they lost to Richmond in the elimination finals by 34 points.

With Essendon Bombers.
At the beginning of the season in 1978, Terry Daniher was traded to Essendon where he kept his position of centre half forward for his entire playing career. He played four Grand Finals for the Bombers out of which they won two.

The 1983 Victorian Football League Grand final was played between Hawthorn and Essendon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This was the first Grand Final appearance for Essendon after they had lost the 1968 VFL Grand Final. To make it to the Grand Final, the Bombers first defeated Carlton by 33 points in the elimination finals and then went on to conquer Fitzroy in the first semi-final by 23 points. In the preliminary finals, they beat North Melbourne by 86 points.

Essendon was looking strong when they proceeded to the Grand Final, however Hawthorn dominated the game at an early stage and by the first quarter, they were leading by 2.6 points. Essendon suffered defeat at the hands of the Hawks who won the Grand Finals by 83 points. Terry Daniher, on the other hand, gave his best performance and was the one who scored the most goals in the game.

The 1984 VFL Grand Final was a rematch from the previous season grand final as Essendon faced the Hawks for the second year running. Essendon had come back with a vengeance after being defeated last year by 83 points. Essendon dominated the season early and then went on to defeat Collingwood in the preliminary finals by 133 points.

Like the previous season Hawthorn dominated the game in the early stages.
However, by the final quarter, Essendon jumped back into the game and defeated the Hawks by 24 points. This was Essendon’s 13th Premiership victory and Terry Daniher’s first. However, he was moved from his usual position and was playing in defence. He managed to score one goal as he led the team to victory as their captain.

Under Terry Daniher’s captaincy, the 1985 Grand Final was the third consecutive Grand Final that the Bombers and Hawks battled out to secure the premiership win. So far, it was a tie between both teams as the 1983 premiership was won by Hawthorn and Essendon claimed the premiership in 1984. Essendon was in a strong first position with 19 wins and only three losses. On the other hand, Hawthorn finished in third.
As expected, the Bombers took an early lead and maintained it throughout the game. Essendon turned out on top and secured their 14th premiership victory with a 78 point margin.

Essendon faced Collingwood in the 1990 Grand Final and were expecting their 15th premiership victory. As expected, the Bombers got off to a strong start and defeat looked inevitable for Collingwood. However, Collingwood somehow managed to get a 3-point lead before the end of the first quarter.

Chaos arose on the ground in the second quarter as both the teams went head to head in a fistfight and nine people, including players and team officials on both sides, were either suspended, fined or both. After the fight settled down in the second quarter, Collingwood gained the lead by 34 points, which left Essendon unable to recover. Collingwood won the premiership by a 48 point margin and Essendon was not able to secure its 15th premiership victory. This was a historic match for Terry Daniher as he was one of the best players on the field and was playing alongside his brothers Chris and Anthony.
Terrance played 294 games for Essendon and scored 447 goals. Essendon’s star centre half forward retired after the 1992 season.


Terrance loved football and didn’t quit playing after he retired. Instead, he started playing for Wagga Tigers in the Riverina Football League (RFL). He led the team to six Grand Finals as their captain and coach and helped the team win five premierships. Afterwards, he moved towards coaching.

Career As An Assistant-Coach

After he helped the Wagga Tigers secure five premierships, Terry Daniher returned to Essendon as an assistant coach and helped the team win the 2000 premiership. He moved on to the position of an assistant coach for the Collingwood Football Club in 2003 and stayed with them for a year. In 2004, Terrance joined St. Kilda as an assistant coach and remained with them till 2005 before moving to Carlton. His final job as an assistant coach for Carlton lasted till 2007. After it, Terry Daniher retired from football completely to take care of the family business.

Awards And Achievements

Terry Daniher won two premierships in his career and was Essendon’s Best and Fairest in 1982. He was Essendon’s lead goal kicker for 1979 and 1983 and is also a part of the club’s Team of the Century as a half-forward flank.

Terry Daniher was also the member of the All-Australian team for three years between 1983 and 1988. In 1985, Terry Daniher was made the captain of the All-Australian team. This is one of the highest honours an Aussie rules footballer can receive.

In 1983, he won the Leigh Matthews Trophy, which is given to the most valuable player by the Australian Football League Players Association. Terry Daniher was a Victorian representative for 11 games and scored 12 goals. In addition, he was a New South Wales representative for four games and scored six goals. Lastly, because of his numerous contributions to the game, he was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

Terry Daniher Property Services

After they were recruited to play Aussie rules football, the Terry Daniher brothers came up with a way to support their family because they had to quit working at the family farm. In 1987, the brothers Terrance, Anthony and Chris formed a company named Terry Daniher Cleaning Services. The company initially provided window cleaning services, but as the brothers gained more knowledge about the industry they expanded the business. By 1991, the Terry Daniher brothers expanded the Terry Daniher Cleaning Services to Terry Daniher Property Services and started providing property maintenance and contract cleaning services.

Despite disappointing many fans by choosing to go into the cleaning business, Terry Daniher continues to be in the hearts of every Australian Rules football fan across the nation.

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