Paul Roos calls out Joe Daniher and Charlie Cameron flaw as Lions' new AFL reality exposed

Roos believes the Lions' 2024 struggles largely come down to the players lack of effort.

Former AFL coach Paul Roos has called out Joe Daniher and Charlie Cameron's lack of effort to start the 2024 season. Last year's grand finalists, the Brisbane Lions, are already in danger of missing the finals altogether, with just two wins in the opening seven matches.

Lions forward Joe Daniher was hammered for his weak showing in Brisbane's 54-point loss to the Giants on Anzac Day. After trailing at half-time by just eight points, the Lions ended up being beaten comfortably with the Brisbane forwards copping a large portion of the blame.

Roos, a premiership winner with Sydney in 2005, said both he and Cameron are club leaders and neither of them is putting in the way they should be. "They're lazy on defence, their two brilliant forwards aren't buying it anymore," he said on ABC's AFL Daily podcast.

Former AFL coach Paul Roos says Charlie Cameron and Joe Daniher's lack of effort is impacting the side's dismal 2024 start. Image: Getty
Former AFL coach Paul Roos says Charlie Cameron and Joe Daniher's lack of effort is impacting the side's dismal 2024 start. Image: Getty

"If I look at Charlie Cameron and Joe Daniher, their efforts defensively are terrible. They've always been a bit questionable, but I look at them and think if you put Brody Mihocek and Jamie Elliott in that team and simply took out Joe Daniher and Charlie Cameron, that's a different team. Despite what Chris (Fagan) says publicly, he would know that.

"With Joe Daniher, I'm sitting there getting super frustrated. The reason why they're going in the forward line so much and not getting a result is because they don't tackle, they don't chase, and these are the benchmarks of a great team."

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 has struggled so far in 2024.

Since first making the finals under Fagan's leadership in 2019, Brisbane has consistently been one of the highest-scoring teams in the competition. Last season they ranked second for points scored and have been in the top five highest-scoring teams for the last five seasons.

However, in 2024 things couldn't be any more different. The Lions are 13th in the competition in scoring, ahead of only St Kilda, West Coast, North Melbourne, Richmond and Hawthorn. And all of Brisbane's top five goal-kickers from last year are averaging fewer goals per game season, with the microscope firmly on Daniher and Cameron, who were top of that list last year.

But of most concern for Roos is Daniher's output, with the AFL premiership winner labelling the Lions big's recent efforts "borderline embarrassing". "It's about what Joe wants to do," Roos said.

"He is one of those frustrating players that has never reached his potential. The worry is — is Joe what he is? Is he a five-six-goal forward against really poor teams and then one or two against really good teams? If that's the case, then you've got to put structures around him. You can't have two or three in your forward line like that. You've got to put guys around him that are going to scrap and fight."

Triple Richmond premiership forward Jack Riewoldt says 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 of last week's match, where the Giants took control late on. Riewoldt says putting your head down is something that simply can't happen from one of the club's leaders.

"It’s a bit about mentality for me,” he said post-game on Fox Footy. "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."