Daniher an AFL inspiration: Nathan Jones

Roger Vaughan
Neale Daniher's (pic) ongoing MND fight is inspirational says Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones

Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones is sadly familiar with the dogged spirit of his old AFL coach Neale Daniher.

It also defined the last days of Jones' grandfather George, who died seven years ago of motor neuron disease (MND).

Daniher, diagnosed four years ago with the fatal condition, has become a public face of the disease he calls "the beast".

All 18 senior coaches will slide into an ice bath on Monday at the MCG for the fourth Big Freeze, an event held before the Melbourne-Collingwood match to publicise the fight against MND.

The strong support of the coaches is testament to Daniher.

Jones said the spirit shown by Daniher and his own grandfather had been "super-inspiring".

"I'm left in awe, every time you see him," Jones said of Daniher.

"It's quite inspiring, the fact he's defied what medical opinion suggests.

"He continues to fight and just find a way.

"You only have to see him this year - he's deteriorated a bit, but just his spirit lives deep within and he's still so passionate about what he does."

For all the tragedy of Daniher's plight - he predicts he will soon lose his speech because of the disease - there is also a fun side to the Big Freeze.

All the slide participants must wear a costume and there is plenty of interest in what each coach will produce.

Jones' coach Simon Goodwin and Collingwood's Nathan Buckley will go first, given they have their game to prepare for.

They are also probably the two fittest coaches.

"A mankini would be pretty good, I reckon," Jones said of Goodwin.

"We were winding him up the other day - he's pretty happy with his rig; expect that to be out.

"I'm assuming he'd be in a bit of a weight cut at the moment, just trying to trim down and make sure he's in career-best when he gets it out.

"More importantly, he'd be wanting to get it done, obviously support a terrific cause, but he's well and truly focused on the game as well - he's very narrow-minded."

Likewise, Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury was merciless when asked about Buckley.

"He (Buckley) will love it - he does think he's in pretty good shape," Pendlebury said.