NSW Origin Hero – Anthony Daniher

By Neil Cordy 

Ants Daniher (pictured right) celebrates NSW’s win over Victoria 

 When you’re third in line in one of the game’s greatest footy families it’s hard to get recognition but Anthony Daniher certainly deserves some. 

His role in New South Wales historic run of victories over Western Australia (1988), Victoria (1990) and Queensland (1992), the latter two at the SCG, was pivotal.  

It was a golden run and “Ants” played in all of them. In the last two he put the clamps on one of the best forwards ever, Hawthorn great Jason Dunstall.  

The 1990 win over the Vics at the SCG was a special one for the Danihers’ with all four brothers Terry (Captain), Neale, Anthony and Chris all playing together for the first time.  

It was especially enjoyable for the boys’ father and proud New South Welshman Jim Daniher who’d made the trip from West Wyalong to the SCG with his wife Edna.  

Jim was no slouch as a footballer himself scoring two tries against Great Britain in the Riverina’s 1954 (36-26) win at Wagga. He also had a distinguished footy career at Ungarie. Despite his prowess in Rugby League footy was his first love and the NSW v Victoria clash featuring his four sons stood apart from all others. 

“It was dad’s favourite game of footy,” Ant’s said.  

                   Jim Daniher

“He’s watched about 4,000 but that was his number one.” 

“4,000” games is a lot of footy so Jim and Edna knew their stuff.  

One of their biggest worries going into the match was the potency of Victoria’s forward line which featured one of the best one two punches in modern football, Dermott Brereton at centre half forward and Dunstall at full forward.  

But their prayers were answered when Brereton was blanketed by Corowa and Collingwood stopper Mick Gayfer and Anthony who did the job on Dunstall.  

“Jason (Dunstall) was a super player but the bloke I had trouble with that night was Paul Salmon,” Ant’s said.  

“Being a team mate at Essendon I never played on him. Fish’s reach was so long and he was super mobile. Fortunately for us he tweaked his hammy and had to go off. I actually found Jason easier to play on than Paul.”  

Two years later Ant’s was again pitted against Dunstall at the SCG this time Jason was lining up for his home state of Queensland. Again he held him in check as NSW smashed the Queenslanders by 93 points (22-9.141 to 6-12.48).  

The northerners didn’t leave empty handed though with Queensland winning the curtain raiser between the state leagues by 17 points (14.18.102 to 12.13.85). The NSW team featured former Swans Grant Bartholomeaus, Matt Lloyd, Robbie Kerr and Paul Hawke and coached by Greg Harris.  

It wasn’t just winning footy matches that pleased Ant’s he loved the whole experience of playing alongside the state’s best.  

“The great thing about playing rep footy is you were able to mix with other players you never crossed paths with,” Ant’s said.  

“It was the calibre of the players as well. In training the ball never hit the ground. I always thought it was a privilege to be part of that group.  

“The other thing I enjoyed was playing under a new coach. You get to experience different ideas and approaches. We were also very competitive which helps. I also got to play under Tommy Hafey and Allan Jeans which was a privilege. Their motivation, passion and engagement with players were extraordinary.”  

He didn’t realise it at the time but Anthony was playing in the last games of State of Origin footy. 30 years on, he cherishes every moment.  

“We lived in an era where we were lucky to be able to represent our state,” Daniher said.  

“I feel sorry for players of the current generation who don’t get a chance to do that. Those games were magic.”  

Ants retired in 1994 after 118 games for Essendon and 115 for Sydney. He’s now lived in Victoria longer than he did in his home state but says he’ll always be a New South Welshman.  

“We bought a farm in Moama so I’m in the right post code,” Anthony said.  

“I’m proud of where I come from and love the fact NSW now pick an annual state team. It’s a great way to capture history.”  

While he finished his time in football as a Bomber Ants still has a soft spot for the club that gave him his start.

“They’ve still got a big place in my heart,” Anthony said.

“What the Swans have done has been outstanding. They’re a great club.  

I still have a lot of good friends in Sydney. Tony Morwood is my brother in law and Joe (Anthony’s son) was very close to going to the Swans recently but he’s very happy in Brisbane now, it was the right fit for him.” 



Mark and Jarrad McVeigh

Australian Football celebrates its 140th anniversary in New South Wales this year after the founding of the NSW Football Association in Sydney in 1880.
To commemorate, 140 coaches, players, umpires, administrators and media personalities from both the Elite (VFL/AFL) and Community level will be inducted into the inaugural New South Wales Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Neil Cordy profiles the nominees this time with brothers, Mark and Jarrad McVeigh:

                               Jarrad & Mark McVeigh

The Daniher brothers have amassed a total of 752 games between them as well as a host of honours and wards but another pairing are the McVeigh brothers, Mark and Jarrad.

Long before the Swans and Giants Academies started developing NSW talent there was a prototype set up on the Central Coast by their father, Tony McVeigh which set a standard for others to follow and produced a success rate almost impossible to compete with.

It’s two graduates, his two sons Mark and Jarrad McVeigh played 557 games between them.

Mark played 232 for Essendon between 1999 and 2012 and Jarrad played 325 for Sydney between 2004 and 2019.

Only Justin and Simon Madden (710 games), Peter and Shaun Burgoyne (616 games) and Ian and Bruce Nankervis (578 games) have done better for pairings of brothers in the history of the game.

Tony’s set up was rudimentary with gum trees for goal posts and an overturned trampoline for rebounding ground balls. But his Killarney Vale Academy has a strike rate for producing AFL talent none have been able to match- 100 per cent.

“We played games against each other and trained every single night,” Jarrad McVeigh said.

“We’d play footy in the morning and come home and watch the only televised match on a Saturday. We’d be back outside kicking the footy at half-time. We were always competing, who could take the best mark, who could kick the best goal, it was a daily occurrence. I was lucky to have a brother playing footy because there weren’t many on the Central Coast at that time. I was six when we started doing that.”

The four year age difference between Mark and Jarrad didn’t seem to matter, Jarrad was a fast learner. “I was lucky Jarrad was as good as he was,” Mark said. “We would go at it for hours and hours. Jarrad’s skill level was amazing for such a young kid.”

Their dad Tony was a talented sportsman in his own right, representing Victoria in badminton and squash and playing 45 games for Williamstown in the VFA between 1978 and 1981. In 1982 he, his wife Margaret and Mark moved to the NSW Central Coast where he took up the coaching job at Killarney Vale FC, then in the Central Coast league.

Jarrad was born in 1985 and it didn’t take long to see the boys had sporting ability and needed some space to develop and grow.

“I cleared the scrub so they could run around and we had a pool so we did triathlons together,” Tony said. “We’d run around the house, jump in the pool, do two laps and then rode pushbikes down the driveway. The skills were the main thing because they were naturally fit. I showed them how to handball, kick, baulk and mark.

The trampoline was an innovation; I painted a bullseye on it and laid it on its side. When the ball hit it, it bounced back on the ground and they would run in and pick it up and dispose of it. Mark was more aerial and Jarrad had great ground skills. They would spend hours out there and I would watch them from the house.”

While the Killarney Vale Academy and junior footy club gave Mark and Jarrad a great start the move to Pennant Hills took them to another level with their football.

“We left Killarney Vale to get more exposure to better players and more opportunities,” Mark said. “I was 13 years old and it was a good move. Pennant Hills was a really strong club and that’s where I met Lenny Hayes. It was disappointing for a lot of people on the coast and there was resentment towards us but dad is pretty strong.”

             Tony McVeigh in his                days at Killarney Vale FC

For those who know the McVeigh family well it wasn’t hard to see where Tony got his strength from. Tony’s father, Mark and Jarrad’s grandfather, Jimmy McVeigh was a merchant seaman born and bred in Liverpool, England. He was a gunner in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War.

“The Germans hunted the supply ships down so he saw plenty of action,” Tony said.

“He travelled to Australia a number of times and fell in love with the place. When the war ended he said to mum this is where I want us to live. There were already four boys in the family when we made the trip including me. I was two, my oldest brother Jimmy was 15, Terry was 13 and Peter was one.”

The McVeigh’s ended up in Williamstown in Victoria and had another four children including an only daughter Colleen. She was Jimmy’s favourite and became a champion lacrosse player for Australia participating in four world championships and captaining the team. Colleen married Western Bulldogs player Mark Hunter. Their son Lachie Hunter played against Jarrad McVeigh in the 2016 grand final.

Playing on opposite sides seems to be the family norm, the four year age difference meant Mark and Jarrad never played in the same team throughout their junior days. They were opposed each other throughout their AFL careers with Mark and Jarrad staying one-team players throughout their time at the Bombers and Swans respectively.

The closest they came to joining forces was in 2004 when Paul Roos was keen on bringing Mark to the Swans.

“It was close to happening but Essendon were a big club and I wanted to stay a one team player,” Mark said.

Mark missed the 2000 premiership team but played in the losing grand final the following year against Brisbane. Over the following years he became a key member of the Bombers line up and leadership group. He represented Australia in the International Rules Series in Ireland in 2004. In 2008 he finished in the top 20 in the Brownlow after missing eight games through injury polling 13 votes.

In his 17 seasons at the Swans Jarrad established himself as one of the club’s greats, he was captain from 2011 to 2016 winning two Bob Skilton Medals (2008, 2013) and All Australian honours in 2013. The highlight came in 2012 when he led Sydney to an epic grand final win over Hawthorn.

Over the span of their careers the brothers lined up against each other eight times and have continued their rivalry into the coaches box with Jarrad now and assistant alongside John Longmire at the Swans and Mark an assistant to Leon Cameron.

“They’ve been destined to go in different paths,” Tony said.

“I’d love to see them on the same team one day but they’re two different people and have got their own ideas and ways. If it happens it happens.”



30 Years Ago NSW Downs the Big V in Monumental Upset

“In the mud and slush of a rainy Sydney night thirty years ago (22 May 1990), a motley crew of New South Welshmen upset the Victorians at their own game.

When the star-studded Victorian Sate of Origin side arrived in Sydney to take on the footy minnows of New South Wales in 1990, they brought their arrogance and swagger.

A team containing some of the game’s all-time greats such as Stephen Silvagni, Dermott Brereton, Dale Weightman and Paul Salmon expected an easy Tuesday night at the SCG.

What they copped was a reality check.

Torrential rain greeted the Vics that afternoon and by the time the ball was bounced the conditions weren’t much better.

All the media talk pre-match had been about the Big V and how much they’d embarrass the local boys coached by then Sydney Swans coach Col Kinnear.

But the visitors didn’t count on the state pride of NSW players such as the Daniher brothers- Terry, team captain, Neale, Anthony and Chris – who were playing together for the first time in senior company, hardman Bernard “Huck” Toohey or North Melbourne teenage prodigies Wayne Carey and John Longmire”.

This excerpt from the NSW AFL Annual Report 1990 captures the pride, joy and excitement of the NSW State of Origin team beating Victoria in an interstate match for the first time since 1925 (https://nswfootballhistory.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/1990-NSWAFL-Annual-Report.pdf).

        Craig Davis

“I stuck it up Teddy Whitten” recalls NSWAFL General Manager Craig Davis (pictured left) with a laugh in his voice. Davis had put the game together in less than a month and did a magnificent job to pull all the parts and people together. Even better the outcome of his efforts was a momentous victory for NSW.

“I still can picture Ted Whitten sitting in the Ladies Stand looking absolutely bewildered” he added.

“It remains the biggest off-field initiative of mine in the game, only surpassed by (son) Nick’s 2005 AFL Premiership with the Swans” Davis recalls with immense satisfaction.

On the night of the match Nick Davis was staying in the family home of Bernard Toohey in Barooga with Bernard’s parents the late Vince and Jill; Nick was playing in the NSW PSSA Carnival.

After the after-match Davis drove through the night to Barooga arriving at the licensed Sports Club for breakfast, and in time to watch Nick play that morning on the club’s ground.


N.S.W. 2-4 8-5 11-6 13-8 (86)

Victoria 4-5 7-8 9-12 10-16 (76)

Attendance: 14,000

Best Players: John Longmire, Brett Allison, Mark Eustice, Tim Powell, Syevie Wright, John lronmonger

Goals: N.S.W.: John Longmire 8, Terry Daniher, Wayne Carey, Bernard Toohey, Neale Daniher, Mark Roberts John Ironmonger

Player of the Match: John Longmire


PLAYERS: Terry Daniher (Captain), Steve Wright (Vice-Captain), Anthony Daniher, Michael Gayfer, Brett Allison, Tim Powell, Bill Brownless, Mark Eustice, David Bolton, Wayne Carey, Craig Potter, Neil Cordy, John Longmire, Bernard Toohey, Steve Wright, Chris Daniher, Michael Werner, Michael Phyland, Barry Mitchell, John Ironmonger, Neale Daniher, Mark Roberts, and Russell Morris

COACH & SELECTORS: Colin Kinnear (Coach), Rick Quade (Chairman of Selectors), Tony Franklin, Craig Davis, and John Reid

MEDICAL/TRAINERS: Phil Loxley (Doctor), Doug Coleman (Physiotherapist), Bruce Hunter (Head Trainer), Alex Kair, Matt Sheedy, Colin Moore, Gary Zealand, and Barry Snowden (Trainers)

OFFICIALS: Tim Johnson (Team Manager), Laurie Axford (Fitness Advisor), Peter Krisihos (Statistics), Mike Mealand (Property Manager), Bob McConnell (Timekeeper) Rod Gillett (Property Steward), Bernie Dowling (Doo