Key talls back in for Lions' AFL prelim

·2-min read

Brisbane are set to welcome back key talls Joe Daniher and Oscar McInerney as they ride a wave of momentum into the AFL preliminary final against Geelong.

The Lions are brimming with confidence after overturning a 28-point deficit to upset Melbourne by 13 points in a thrilling semi-final on Friday night.

They earned the 14.8 (92) to 11.13 (79) win despite the late withdrawal of key forward Daniher, who pulled out to be with his partner for the birth of their child.

It left Eric Hipwood (four goals) to lead the way in attack in a huge display that drew praise from coach Chris Fagan.

"I thought it was a great performance," Fagan said.

"Eric only came back halfway through the year from a knee reconstruction and that always takes a bit of time.

"You really expect he's not going to hit his straps again until next year - it often takes 12 months - but for him to do that tonight in the absence of Joey (was important)."

There was drama just hours before Brisbane broke their MCG hoodoo against Melbourne when Daniher flew home on the morning of the match.

Fagan confirmed the lanky left-footer will return against the Cats on Friday night as Brisbane aim to reach their first grand final since 2004.

"Joey and his wife had the baby today so I'm glad he got to get home and they've got a little daughter," he said.

"So it's been a win-win for us; we get a fresh Joey Daniher next week and we got a win, so you couldn't get a better day than that."

McInerney was concussed early in the elimination final win over Richmond but would have been in the team against Melbourne if medical protocols had allowed.

"If it had have been under the old system I suppose he would've played this week," Fagan said.

"He was bright and training towards the end of the week, running, so he'll be fit and available next week."

Fagan faces a tough call on fill-in ruckman Darcy Fort, who did well to limit Melbourne captain Max Gawn's influence.

The 29-year-old former Geelong tall was the only player on the ground making his first finals appearance and held his own under immense pressure to fill a key role for the Lions.

"There was nothing special there, it was just Darcy Fort putting in a big effort," Fagan said.

"He's done that a few times for us this year when Oscar hasn't been available.

"He's a man of great character and against all the odds I thought he battled really well and gave us the contest that we needed."