Often questioned over his big-game temperament, it was fitting Joe Daniher ripped the pivotal third quarter apart against Port Adelaide on Saturday night to catapult Brisbane into a preliminary final.

Although the lanky full-forward had plenty of mates who stepped up with the game on the line, his three-goal term took it from a contest in the balance to a one-sided runaway.

He finished with a career-best finals haul of five goals to bankroll the 48-point victory and leave the Lions two wins away from their first premiership in 20 years.


It continued a brilliant season for Daniher, arguably better than his 2017 All-Australian campaign for Essendon despite missing out on a second blazer last week.

Remember early in the season when he was being questioned for a lack of competitiveness?

That seems so long ago now.

There's a calm assurance, among a smattering of chaos, with Daniher's play in 2023, and it was on full display in the third quarter.

Port got within 10 points moments after half-time, and it was then Brisbane's potent forward line clicked into overdrive with a devastating eight-goal term.

And although milestone man Charlie Cameron had the sell-out Gabba crowd rocking with back-to-back renditions of John Denver's Country Roads midway through the term with consecutive goals in two minutes, it was old reliable – yes, reliable – Daniher that was there all night.


He was on the end of a clever Callum Ah Chee tap to kick his first goal in the third, led up beautifully to take a chest mark from a Hugh McCluggage pass for another, and rounded out the quarter with a brilliant gather, spin and left foot dribbled kick for his third.

His five goals from 16 disposals came despite the close attention of Aliir Aliir.

Since coming to Brisbane late in 2020, playing in September hasn't always been kind to Daniher.

Although he kicked the match-winner in the dying seconds of last year's elimination final win over Richmond, there hasn't been a lot to get excited about, kicking four goals from four finals.

But this year things are different.

He took contested marks early, was involved heavily when backing up Oscar McInerney in the ruck and was eventually rewarded with his goals.

Daniher had plenty of mates, though. Cam Rayner kicked three first-half goals when Brisbane really needed them, while McCluggage stepped up while Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale was being well held by Willem Drew.


Young wingman Jaspa Fletcher was magnificent in his first final, kicking three goals from 18 disposals to round out a Lions attack that was just too potent for the undermanned Port defence.

Whether Brisbane faces Carlton or Melbourne at the Gabba in a fortnight, the opposition will need to put plenty of time into Daniher, who has finally proved himself a week-to-week performer.