Joe Daniher kicks the ball during Brisbane's clash against North Melbourne in round five, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

THE BEST is yet to come in 2023 from Joe Daniher, says Brisbane coach Chris Fagan, after watching his key forward boot five goals in a best afield performance on Saturday.

It was only two weeks ago Daniher copped the wrath of the AFL's national media for a below-par outing against the Western Bulldogs, but his past two games have been nothing short of superb.

LIONS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats

Against Collingwood on Easter Thursday he kicked two goals from 20 disposals, and against North Melbourne at Mount Barker the big left-footer kicked five from 18 touches and also hauled in 13 marks.

Fagan said he loved coaching Daniher, even if it was a rollercoaster of emotions at times.

"He does some quirky things on the field from time to time that makes everybody roll their eyes, but he's a great team man, his heart is always in the right place," Fagan said.


"He's a joy to coach, he's a sublime talent and I just feel like he'll get better this year.

"I think he's happy where he is in his life and is looking forward to making a big contribution to our effort this year."

Daniher did just about everything against the Kangaroos, kicking three goals in the match-shaping second quarter, hauling in a spectacular mark in the third, and missing some gettable set shots when a career-best haul (six) was on offer.

In the second term, he took a mark inside the centre square, wheeled around and watched the ball fly over a pack of players and bounce through.

"I was probably saying, 'Slow down Joe and try and find a target inside 50'," Fagan admitted.


"But I also believe with coaching and managing players you've got to let them do what they're good at and not get in the way.

"It's always a balance, but you've got to have a bit of fun when you play footy as well, and he does."

Daniher was the standout in the 75-point win, but Fagan was also pleased with Brisbane's defensive pressure and said his new faces were coming together well after five rounds.

Josh Dunkley, Will Ashcroft, Conor McKenna and Darragh Joyce are all new to the Lions this year, while Jack Gunston was rested for this match, and Darcy Wilmot had only played three games before this season.

"They're still learning to play together and I thought today was probably the best we've done that this year," Fagan said.


"That's pleasing, but we've got to keep focused and not get ahead of ourselves.

"Round one we let ourselves down to Port … I feel like our last four weeks, even though we had the loss to the Dogs, we've been very consistent.

"The players are starting to understand each other and the defensive side of our game has been very good.

"It's a tick. We'll just keep it low-key I think."


His counterpart and good friend Alastair Clarkson said the Lions were simply "too good" after the Kangaroos got out to an early three-goal lead.

Clarkson said his main frustration came from the ease of Brisbane's goals.

"So many times it was just one extra handball we tried and would turn it over," he said.


"At different stages we were too attacking through the middle of the ground and those turnovers hurt us.

"Just the ease with which they got the goals, it ended up just breaking your spirit a little bit and at different stages we found it hard to get back into the contest."

The major injury concern for North centres around co-captain Jy Simpkin, who left the field with a hand injury in the second quarter and did not return.

MEDICAL ROOM Check out the full injury list

"He couldn't clench his fist properly, so it doesn’t look good for us, but we'll have to see what transpires when he gets x-rayed and scanned over the early part of the week," Clarkson said.

"Where Brisbane are now is where we want to be and where they were four or five years ago is probably where we are now.

"We know the path we're on. By and large we've been pretty competitive, but we came up against a really good unit today."