Joe Daniher celebrates with teammates during the round nine clash between Brisbane and Essendon at the Gabba on May 13, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

JOE DANIHER was not going to let Brisbane lose against his former club on Saturday night, starring with six goals in a 42-point win over Essendon at the Gabba.

After trailing by 10 points at half-time, the Lions used a powerful 10 goals to two second half to break away from the plucky Bombers and race to a sixth straight win, 12.15 (87) to 6.9 (45).

Daniher kept the home team afloat when they struggled early on before his teammates joined in to help secure victory.

LIONS v BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats

The lanky forward kicked Brisbane's first four goals – their only two in the first half and two early in the third to regain the lead – and added two more in the fourth term.


He was powerful in the air, hauling in seven marks, three of them contested, and while many of his teammates missed set shots they would usually gobble, he was accurate, missing just once.

Brisbane dominated much of the general play, generating 69 inside 50s to just 38 but battled to break away from Brad Scott's men, who did well around the clearances (33-32) and scrapped for their lives.


But eventually the dam wall broke as Brisbane hammered away and hammered away.

Lachie Neale (34), Will Ashcroft (28) and Dayne Zorko (25) were all prolific in the midfield, while Harris Andrews and Ryan Lester were resolute in defence.

Although not the Lions' most polished performance, it was another step in their progression, finding a way to score when it looked difficult and getting contributions from all over the ground.


Despite missing some of its key personnel to injury, including prolific midfielder Darcy Parish, Essendon was right up for the contest from the opening minutes.

They held a slight advantage around the stoppages in the first quarter and harassed Brisbane into mistakes, but the Lions scrapped just as much, with two Daniher goals giving the home team a five-point lead at the first change.

The second came after an Archie Perkins turnover at half-forward, with a quick transfer of play ending in Daniher's hands, where with no-one on the mark he wandered to 55m and banged it home.


Essendon continued to thwart Brisbane's attack in the second quarter, with Charlie Cameron being quelled by Andy McGrath, and then managed to punish them on the counter attack.

The Bombers kicked three unanswered goals for the term despite generating just 11 inside 50s to Brisbane's 16, with Jake Stringer, Kyle Langford and then Jye Menzie, following a 50m penalty, all kicking goals.


The Lions had enough of the play, but Daniher, Eric Hipwood, Zorko and Lincoln McCarthy were all wayward with gettable set shots as the visitors went to the main break with a 10-point advantage.

Mason Redman was magnificent for the Bombers.


McGrath locks down Cameron
Charlie Cameron has been the best small forward in the competition through the first eight rounds and Essendon coach Brad Scott gave Andy McGrath the task of keeping the Lions livewire quiet. And what a job he did. The former No.1 pick wore Cameron like a glove all night, keeping him goalless from nine disposals in a wonderful defensive display. He matched Cameron for pace and strength, frustrating the crowd favourite who couldn't cash in on Brisbane's 69 inside 50s.

Andy McGrath tackles Charlie Cameron during the round nine clash between Brisbane and Essendon at the Gabba on May 13, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Ryan Lester keeps on keeping on
Now in his 13th season, Ryan Lester is making the most of every opportunity he's getting. Dropped more than any other Lion of this era – his words in recent weeks, not ours – he doesn't look like going anywhere soon. Nudging out Darragh Joyce for the third tall defender's role, Lester again shone against the Bombers, finishing with a team-high 10 intercept disposals to again help anchor the back 50. Although Darcy Gardiner will play his second VFL match for the season on Sunday, his old mate Lester won't be making it easy for a return to the top flight.

Ryan Lester tackles Kyle Langford during the round nine clash between Brisbane and Essendon at the Gabba on May 13, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

No Parish, no worries for Bombers' midfield
Perhaps the biggest loss to Essendon's team came just days before the match when clearance machine Darcy Parish suffered a calf injury at training. However, the re-worked Bombers' midfield didn't miss a beat, ever-so-slightly getting the better of their Lions counterparts around the stoppages (33-32) and giving their team a fighting chance. Captain Zach Merrett (23 and seven clearances) was wonderful, while Dylan Shiel, Jye Caldwell and Will Setterfield were also influential. 


BRISBANE     2.2      2.7      7.11    12.15 (87)
ESSENDON     1.3      4.5      5.6      6.9 (45) 

Brisbane: Daniher 6, Bailey 2, McInerney, Hipwood, McCarthy, Rayner
Essendon: Langford 2, Stringer, Perkins, Menzie, McDonald-Tipungwuti 

Brisbane: Daniher, Neale, Andrews, Ashcroft, Coleman, Zorko
Essendon: Redman, Merrett, McGrath, Langford, Hobbs, Setterfield 

Brisbane: Nil
Essendon: Nil 

Brisbane: Nil
Essendon: Alwyn Davey jnr replaced in selected side by Massimo D’Ambrosio 

Brisbane: Noah Answerth (replaced Dayne Zorko in the fourth quarter)
Essendon: Alwyn Davey jnr (replaced D'Ambrosio in the fourth quarter) 

Crowd: 31,898 at the Gabba