Brent Daniels often still gets asked about that goal, but he hopes it’s not the only memorable moment he can produce for the GIANTS.
The 20-year-old wrote his name into GIANTS’ folklore when he kicked a thrilling goal to give the GIANTS the lead in the final minutes of their semi-final against Brisbane at the Gabba last September.
The GIANTS held on to win, and the composure of the then-second-year GIANT to step up in the big moment was a major talking point out of the match.
“A lot of people still ask me about it, but I don’t think I really understand how big a moment it was,” Daniels said.
“It’s really nice when people come up to you and pump you up a little bit and get around you. Hopefully there’s many more to come.”
Daniels, who was drafted with pick 27 in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, impressed in his debut season, playing eight games, but missing out on a spot in the finals.
But a brilliant second season saw the small forward become one of just four GIANTS to play all 26 games for the year, including the four finals.
Labelling the four weeks of finals as a “very special time for me personally, but also for my family and friends”, Daniels said the consistency of his selection was a great confidence boost.
“The coaches backing you week-in, week-out helps,” he said.
“It just helps build confidence in your game and you can get comfortable with the players around you and the AFL environment itself and really get used to it and thrive in it.”
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The GIANTS trialled a new-look forward line in 2019, with a three-pronged tall attack of Jeremy Cameron, Jeremy Finlayson and Harry Himmelberg working beautifully with Daniels and the likes of Toby Greene, Daniel Lloyd and Bobby Hill throughout the season.
The GIANTS finished with 322 majors for the season – equal-most in the league with Richmond – with Cameron taking out the Coleman Medal after a 67-goal home-and-away season.
Importantly, though, the GIANTS were also equal-first for goal assists (229, also tied with Richmond) and had the top three players for goal assists in the league with Himmelberg (27), Daniels (25) and Finlayson (24 – tied with Geelong’s Tom Hawkins).
“We’ve got three talls and a couple of smalls there; we work really well together being selfless,” Daniels said.
“Putting the team before ourselves was one of the main things we’d talk about throughout the week and I suppose that showed with ‘Himmel’ (Harry Himmelberg), Jezza (Finlayson) and myself being up there in the goal assists.
“For Jezza (Cameron) to win the Coleman Medal for the first time was really special, and the forward line group were really proud of him and pumped up for him as well.”
But a new season brings with it new challenges, and the competition for spots in the forward line is heating up. Among those vying for a spot is exciting young GIANT Hill, while Zac Langdon, whose forward pressure was a revelation in 2018 before injury derailed his 2019 campaign, is fit and firing.
“For me, 2020 is about cementing my spot again,” Daniels said.
“I’m really looking to kick a lot more goals and get involved in the scoring a bit more, to really use my leg speed a little bit more as well.
“Those are the things that can really take my game to another level.”