Joe Daniher just got home in time for the birth of his first child, with the Brisbane star and his wife welcoming a baby girl.
Lions CEO Greg Swann confirmed that Daniher “made it for half an hour” after taking a mercy run from Melbourne home just hours before his team’s stunning 13-point semi-final win over the Demons.
Swann received a message from Daniher to confirm that his daughter was “good” and would see the team “next week”.
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“Joey was probably a little bit unlucky,” Swann said on 3AW.
“On Wednesday they went to the gynecologist and he said, ‘Look, the baby is pretty high, there is no drama that the baby will come at the moment.’
“He did it in half an hour, which was great!
“It was just a little bit unlucky – 24 hours either way and it would have been OK (to play).”
Brisbane manager Chris Fagan was all smiles after his team’s first MCG final win in nearly two decades, and confirmed that Daniher and his wife had taken in a baby girl.
“Joey and his wife had the baby, so it’s great that he was able to get home. They had a little daughter, “he revealed Friday night after the game.
“For us it is beneficial to everyone: we have a new Joey Daniher for next week and we got a win tonight, so you couldn’t have a better day than that!”
Earlier on Friday, Fagan opened up about the moment his star told him he had to rush home to be with his partner for the “imminent” birth of their first child.
Daniher had been with teammates in Melbourne preparing for the semi-final clash with the Demons when he received a call early Friday morning.
Fagan said that while he agreed with Daniher’s decision to go home immediately, he admitted that “it wasn’t great news for us.”
“It wasn’t a surprise, I just hoped we would get over this game and it could happen in the next few days,” Fagan told Fox Footy.
“Joey called me this morning around 9 and I thought, ‘This is great news for Joey and probably not good news for us’ and that’s how it worked.
“Good luck to you both, I hope everything goes well.
“It’s the right call.”
Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph said Daniher’s decision to go home came “quickly”.
“He was back in Brisbane on a 10am flight to be with his partner for the birth of their first child,” he told Fox Footy.
“Football boss Danny Daly told me it happened in a hurry – they thought his partner was coming in October!
“At 8:20 am they received a phone call to inform them that she was in labor.
“He is such a reserved type, that not only some of the players, but also some of the staff were not even aware that his partner was expecting.”
Fagan said that since Daniher quickly left shortly thereafter, he therefore had to hire a replacement.
And that player was Tom Fullarton who opted for a “like for like” substitute.
“We just didn’t want to move the whole team just because one guy got out of the team,” he said.
“We think he’s ready for the occasion.”
Daniher was the hero of the Lions in last weekend’s elimination final, kicking the match winner in the closing seconds to secure victory over Richmond.
But he’s not the first footballer to leave teammates in the finals for the birth of their baby, with Daniel Bradshaw famously missing the 2000 semi-final against Carlton.
Fox Footy’s Jonathan Brown later revealed that then Brisbane manager Leigh Matthews had warned his players not to have unprotected sex in January to avoid another showdown.
“Daniel Bradshaw, a teammate of mine, retired before a final,” Brown told Fox Footy.
“His wife had the baby … We were eliminated in that final and then on Wednesday he told us: ‘Don’t have unprotected sex in January, because it coincides with the September finals!’
“We all laughed and he said ‘I’m not joking, guys.’ He was terribly serious. “
Saint Jake Carlisle also retired from St Kilda’s last campaign in 2020 to be with his partner for the birth of their first child.
“That’s just what happens these days,” Ralph said on Friday.
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