Joe Daniher at centre of bombshell news ahead of AFL semi-final

Joe Daniher, pictured here in action for the Brisbane Lions against Richmond.
Joe Daniher in action for the Brisbane Lions against Richmond. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Joe Daniher has pulled himself out of Brisbane's semi-final clash against Melbourne on Friday night in a hammer blow for the Lions.

Daniher, who kicked the winning goal in last week's elimination final victory over Richmond, withdrew on Friday morning for family reasons.

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The news came just hours before the sudden-death final between the Lions and Demons at the MCG, with reports emerging that Daniher's partner has gone into labour with their first child.

Daniher has booted 39 goals in 18 games this season, including three against the Tigers last weekend.

The star Lion and had shaped as a key to Brisbane's hopes of progressing to the preliminary final.

He has been replaced in the Lions' 22 by fellow tall Tom Fullarton.

"Daniher has been removed from the 22 for the clash at the MCG due to family reasons," the Lions said in a statement.

"The club supports Joe's decision to be with his family at this time and respects their privacy."

Lions fans were left gutted over the news, but many praised him for making the difficult choice and placing his family ahead of his job.

Brisbane Lions hit by more bad news

Brisbane had already lost ruckman Oscar McInerney to concussion and were forced to recall Darcy Fort.

The Lions will welcome back Cam Rayner and Noah Answerth from suspension, while last week's substitute Callum Ah Chee has been elevated to their line-up.

Mitch Robinson, Jaxon Prior and Rhys Mathieson were all dropped as a result.

"One of the reasons we brought Darcy to the club was because we thought Oscar needed some back-up, and as it has turned out we've needed that in a final. It is good to have him," coach Chris Fagan said on Thursday.

"Oscar missed a game against the Giants a few weeks back with Covid and Darcy came in and was one of our best players. We have a lot of faith and trust in him."

Joe Daniher, pictured here in action during a Brisbane Lions training session at The Gabba.
Joe Daniher in action during a Brisbane Lions training session at The Gabba. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Brisbane are attempting to pull off a massive turnaround in results against the Demons, having lost to Melbourne by 64 in round 15 and 58 in round 23.

"The bottom line against Melbourne is that we have played with unacceptable effort and attitude and we have to change that around," Fagan said.

"There is nothing else to talk about. Mindset is a key thing in every game, particularly in finals.

"Melbourne are the only team this year that have caused us some problems. We've recognised that and we have got to change that.

"What hopefully you will see is a much better effort than what we have produced the last couple of times we've played them.

"I feel confident in our group. Last week was a tremendous win and gave us a fair bit of belief.

"We have won five of our last seven games so our form is not too bad, other than the Melbourne loss."

The winner of Friday night's match will progress to a preliminary final against Geelong at the MCG next week.

with AAP

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