It was always going to be a challenge to top his 2020 heroics for Lachie Neale.
And a series of back and ankle injuries that kept him out of six games made the task even tougher.
While everything clicked in 2020, Neale’s pre-season was disrupted by a calf injury, and it always looked like this year was going to be one where he would be forced to grind it out.
The 2020 Brownlow medalist proved his mettle by playing through pain in the early stages of the season and then underlined his class with a brilliant finals campaign that saw him collect a staggering 46 disposals in the qualifying final loss to Melbourne and back it up with a hard earned 28 touches in the nail biting one point semi-final loss to the Bulldogs.
His effort against the eventual premiership winning Demons was the second highest possession tally of his career and set a new benchmark for AFL finals.
It was the game that should give Lions fans hope for 2022. He amassed an AFL finals record 46 disposals with 25 contested possessions and 13 clearances.
Throughout the back end of the year Neale gathered 30 plus possessions in four games to prove he remains one of the premier midfielders in the competition.
He is contracted until the end of 2023.
Lachie and partner Jules also became brand new parents, welcoming Piper Rose Neale to the world late last month.
Standout Performance: Don't Mess with Lachie Post-Bye
Having played just one game in eight weeks, it would be expected for a player to slightly rusty upon their return to the game... not for Lachie!
The bye week seemed to do the 2020 Brownlow Medallist wonders, as he took Tasmania by storm in Round 14, leading the Lions to a gutsy 23 point win in the wet against North Melbourne.
Amassing 30 disposals, laying 10 tackles and kicking a crucial goal, Neale was vital in the Lions bounce back to form after being overrun by eventual premiers, Melbourne in Round 12.
Impressively, in Brisbane's 33-point loss to the Demon's in the Qualifying Final, Neale set the AFL record for most disposals in a final after racking up a massive 46 disposals and 13 clearances.
Disposals - 27 (Elite)
Handball - 14.1 (Elite)
Tackles - 4.1 (Above-Average)
Marks - 3.9 (Above-Average)
Clearances - 6.3 (Elite)