FROM the moment he goaled in the first minute, it was Joe Daniher's day at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
Brisbane's prized off-season recruit started his career in Lions colours with a bang, kicking 4.3 from eight shots at goal in a dominant 15.12 (102) to 8.7 (55) practice match win over Gold Coast.
AAMI COMMUNITY SERIES Check out the pre-season fixture
Cam Rayner won the game's first centre clearance, handballed to Lachie Neale who pinpointed a pass to Daniher who marked and goaled from 50m.
It was the first of seven successive Brisbane goals to start the game as the Lions punished any Gold Coast mistakes.
Daniher also gifted a goal to Keidean Coleman in an exciting debut.
Eric Hipwood was another who had a day out for the victors, bagging four goals as well – and setting one up for Daniher with a laser pass that travelled 50m – against the inexperienced key defensive duo of Charlie Ballard and Caleb Graham.
Rayner was strong in the midfield, while Hugh McCluggage and Cal Ah Chee were clean in the humid conditions.
The Suns were far more energetic after quarter-time and held their own for the final three quarters, with Will Brodie and Ben Ainsworth impressive.
Both sides looked to emerge unscathed from their first competitive hitout of 2021, and they will face off again in the AAMI Community Series on Monday, March 8 at Metricon Stadium from 6.10pm AEST.
Richmond recruit Oleg Markov was a real bright spark for the Suns, dashing from defence a number of times, including one second-half effort that resulted in a Ben Ainsworth goal. He was also physical and added some presence to the Suns' defence. Although it's his third year on Brisbane's list, Irish recruit James Madden also showed he was now up to senior level, playing a strong game in defence.
Round one bolters
Entering his third year at the Lions, former first round draft pick Ely Smith is right in the frame to make his senior debut. Used on a wing for much of the day he battled hard for all four quarters and won a good share of the ball. It's tight for spots, but he's closer than he's ever been. Young Sun Sam Flanders – who played five games last season – was energetic in the forward line and his pressure should have him knocking on the door.
After missing most of last year with a dislocated shoulder, Matt Rowell played the first half before sitting out the second. The No.1 draft pick was highly involved but looked a little rusty with a few fumbles and being run down from behind once. The star midfielder will be much better for the run. Noah Anderson was promising, playing more minutes onball than he did in 2020. Izak Rankine kicked two goals – including one freakish effort from the right forward pocket – and roamed up to stoppages regularly, while Connor Budarick was solid in defence. Keidean Coleman kicked a goal for the Lions and looked the most likely crumber when the ball hit the deck inside 50.
After spending his first three seasons almost exclusively at half-forward, Cam Rayner spent a big portion of his time onball with great success. The powerhouse Lion was destructive around clearances, kicked a goal and was one of the best players afield. Gold Coast's Sean Lemmens made a good fist of his move from the forward line to defence, spending a nice amount of time on Charlie Cameron and rotating between Brisbane's other smalls. Jack Lukosius played on a wing after spending all of 2020 in defence. He was quiet early but worked into the game with his kicking even more damaging forward of centre.
Not only did Daniher kick goals, but he roamed up the field and gathered plenty of disposals. Zac Bailey is set for a breakout year, mixing time between the midfield and wing, while Daniel Rich is fit and will always gather a heap of the ball. For Gold Coast, Ben Ainsworth kicked goals, made tackles and racked up disposals.