AFL greats slam Joe Daniher act as Brisbane Lions suffer humiliating defeat to GWS Giants

Daniher went goalless in the Lions' 54-point defeat to GWS on Anzac Day.

Brisbane Lions forward Joe Daniher has been slammed after a weak showing in Brisbane's 54-point loss to the Giants on Anzac Day. After trailing at half-time by just eight points, the 2023 AFL finalists ended up being beaten comfortably with the Brisbane forwards copping a large part of the blame.

Key forward duo, Daniher and Eric Hipwood, combined for just two behinds as the Lions fell to 2-5 in 2024. Brisbane’s only multiple goalkickers at Manuka Oval on Thursday were smaller options, Charlie Cameron and Cam Rayner.

But even more concerning for under-fire coach Chris Fagan was that Daniher was muscled off the ball on multiple occasions. And the Lions big's poor performance also caught the attention of Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton who demanded he must do more.

Brisbane Lions forward Joe Daniher pictured
Brisbane Lions forward Joe Daniher has been slammed for his weak performance against the Giants, topped off by being beaten out in a marking contest by Jack Buckley (pictured right). Image: Getty/Fox Footy

Brereton criticised Daniher's efforts in marking and ruck contests, as well as his lack of effort to chase down the opposition. And the Hawks legend pointed to one disappointing act in particular that he says sums up the big's performance. It was when Daniher was eased out of a mark by Jack Buckley, despite having the size and positioning on him.

"I do look at it pretty hard,” Brereton said post-game on Fox Footy. "This is Joe when he’s shoved under the ball (by Jack Buckley). This is the ‘good Joe’, ‘bad Joe’. He’s out-marked there by Buckley, just went under him. That’s when the ball gets turned (over). Joe, easily pushed under it. Tom Green slips in; (the Lions) don’t touch it again and that’s a goal resulted. That’s Joe pushed off the ball (in the ruck against Kieren Briggs), it gets to the outside because Briggs has the opportunity to just shove him sideways and completely control the stoppage."

Daniher was handed extra rucking responsibilities for the Giants match alongside Darcy Fort with Oscar McInerney out with a concussion. But Brereton says the ex-Bomber wasn't putting in as the tie moved out of Brisbane's reach.

"Now, watch the chase here. Now, that’s a bloke who’s thought ‘I’ve given up chasing here, I’m done for the night’," Brereton continued. "And people will be there saying ‘the game was done’ (but) if you’re the key forward and you set the standards in your forward line for every other forward to follow in, you want your biggest key forward to be a beast."

"I’m treating him harshly at the moment because I expect so much more out of him. But, if you’re the number-one key forward, you are the captain of the forward line. If I was his older teammate, this is how I’d treat him inside the closed doors. I’ve got to convey this to the viewers. He’s got to make sure his teammates see him not just drifting off the back off that chase. Not just being shoved under the ball and going ‘well, that was against me, I’ll accept that’. You cannot let that happen.”

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 20: Joe Daniher of the Lions reacts during the 2024 AFL Round 06 match between the Brisbane Lions and the Geelong Cats at The Gabba on April 20, 2024 in BRISBANE, Australia. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Joe Daniher struggled to make an impact in the Lions' loss to GWS.

Triple Richmond premiership forward Jack Riewoldt said the poor body language from just one player can have a knock-on effect on the entire team. He pointed out Daniher's apparent lack of interest in the second half as the Giants took control and said it is something that simply can't happen from one of the club's leaders.

"It’s a bit about mentality for me,” he said. “As a key forward, you do rely so much on ball movement up the ground. (Sometimes when) things aren’t going your way (it’s about) what you go to.


"For me, try and get to as many contests as you possibly can. Try and get a tackle. Try and get something to just get you back in the game ... But you actually have to understand that your body language affects the next person down the line’s body language. I have no doubt Eric Hipwood would look at Joe and go ‘Oh, no, he’s got his head down’. And that would actually start to filter through your whole group.

"He is a leader of that football club and you know what? Things aren’t always going to go your way with ball movement ... But there’s still an effort part of it you need to do as a leader."