Lachie Neale has written his name into AFL history, becoming just the 16th multiple winner of the Brownlow Medal, the first player in history to poll 25 or more votes four times, and the No.2 three-voter all-time.

Neale polled consecutive three-vote ratings in the last two games of the season to finish with 31 votes and beat Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli (29) and three of the competition’s exciting youngsters - Collingwood’s Nick Daicos (27), Sydney’s Errol Gulden (27) and Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters (26) in an epic finish.

Melbourne’s Christian Petracca (26) was sixth after effectively being ko’d from the count by teammate Jack Viney, who polled 1-3-3 in Rounds 22-23-24 to finish equal seventh on 24 votes with ineligible Fremantle midfielder Caleb Serong.

Carlton’s Patrick Cripps (22) and Gold Coast’s Noah Anderson (22) shared ninth spot from Port’s Connor Rozee (21) and St.Kilda Jack Sinclair (21), while GWS’ Toby Green (20) and Adelaide’s Jordan Dawson (20) and Rory Laird (20) completed the top 15 leaderboard.

Neale polled in 14 of 23 games – two more than any other player. He polled seven three’s, three two’s and three one’s.

Bontempelli, Gulden, Petracca and Laird each polled in 12 games, Daicos, Butters and Serong 11, and Sinclair and Rozee 10, while Daicos, Butters and Viney also picked up seven three-vote ratings, and Bontempelli, Gulden, Anderson and Toby Greene six.

Neale set up his count with 2-1-1-3-3-2 votes in six games from Rounds 2-7, polled 2-3 in Rounds 9-10 and 3-0-3-1 in Rounds 14-17. He did not poll in Rounds 18-21, when clearly he played with a niggling injury but was back to his best as the Lions closed out the home-and-away season with wins over Adelaide, Collingwood and St.Kilda.

Joe Daniher polled a career-best 12 votes to rank second among the Lions from first-year star Will Ashcroft, who polled 10 votes in 18 games including three votes in just his second game, and Harris Andrews polled eight votes to double his career total.

Other Lions to feature in the count were Charlie Cameron (8), Harris Andrews (8), Zac Bailey (5), Josh Dunkley (4), Jack Gunston (3), Hugh McCluggage (3), Keidean Coleman (3), Cam Rayner (2), Jarrod Berry (1), Eric Hipwood (1) and Daniel Rich (1).

Rich’s 37th and final career vote came in Round 6 against GWS when he had 27 possessions.

Ashcroft, who will miss the grand final through injury, picked up a small consolation when he also won the AFL Goal of the Year for his freakish snap in Round 7 against Fremantle at the Gabba.


Grand finalists Brisbane and Collingwood each polled 92 votes to head the club-by-club tally from Melbourne (89), Port Adelaide (86), Western Bulldogs (81), Carlton (78), Adelaide (77), Sydney (75), St.Kilda (73), GWS (71), Fremantle (67), Richmond (65), Essendon (59), Gold Coast (57), Hawthorn (57), Geelong (55), North Melbourne (39) and West Coast (28).

In a thrilling count, Neale was second three votes behind Daicos after Round 6, hit the front in Round 10 and after Round 13 was two votes behind Petracca.

At Round 16, after Gold Coast’s Noah Anderson had climbed to second on the leaderboard at Round 15, Neale was back in front by one vote from Daicos, but at Round 21 he was four behind Daicos, who was done for the year due to injury.

Going into Round 24 only Neale (28), Daicos (28), Gulden (26) and Petracca (26) could win.

Gulden had a career-best 42 possessions and kicked two goals in a loss to Melbourne but polled only one vote as Petracca, with 29 possessions and a goal, did not feature. Viney (29 possessions, 12 tackles) and Bayley Fritsch (five goals) took the major votes.

With Daicos finished, Neale only needed one vote in the Round 24 win over St.Kilda, when he had 30 possessions, but he polled three to win by three.

Among 13,096 AFL players all-time only four have won the Brownlow Medal more often than the 30-year-old Lions midfield ace. Three-time winners Haydn Bunton (Fitzroy), Dick Reynolds (Essendon), Bob Skilton (South Melbourne) and Ian Stewart (StKilda/Richmond).

Other two-time winners have been Ivor Warne-Smith (Melbourne), Bill Hutchison (Essendon), Roy Wright (Richmond), Keith Greig (North Melb), Peter Moore (Collingwood/Melbourne), Greg Williams (Sydney/Carlton), Robert Harvey (StKilda), Adam Goodes (Sydney), Chris Judd (West Coast/Carlton), Gary Ablett Jnr (Geelong/Gold Coast) and Nathan Fyfe (Fremantle).

Neale now has polled a staggering 124 votes in five seasons with the Lions, going at 1.25 votes per game through 99 eligible games.

Not only did he poll a staggering 31 votes to win the medal by 10 in the 17-game Covid season of 2020 and 31 votes to win again this year, but he polled 28 votes to finish second one vote behind Carlton’s Patrick Cripps in 2022, and 26 votes in 2019 to finish equal third. His only ‘off’ year was 2021 when he missed five games through injury and had to be content with eight votes.

Neale becomes Brisbane’s first dual Brownlow Medallist, having gone one better than Michael Voss (1996), Jason Akermanis (2001) and Simon Black (2002).

This gives the extended Lions family a total of 13 Brownlow Medals, with six Fitzroy players having won a total of eight medals - Haydn Bunton (1931-32-35), Wilfred ‘Chicken’ Smallhorn (1933), Denis ‘Dinny’ Ryan (1936), Allan Ruthven (1950), Kevin Murray (1969) and Bernie Quinlan (1981).

Ironically, with the Lions to play Collingwood in the grand final on Saturday, Neale was not at the traditional black tie medal function in Melbourne. Instead, like Akermanis in 2001 and Black in 2002, he watched the count with teammates and club officials in Brisbane.

Neale’s 31-vote haul this year, equal to his own Brisbane club record in 2020, takes his career vote tally to 187 - equal 11th all-time list with ex-Fremantle teammate Nat Fyfe.


Ahead of Neale on the all-time leaderboard are Gary Ablett Jnr (262), Patrick Dangerfield (248), Sam Mitchell (227), Scott Pendlebury (221), Gary Dempsey (218.5), Robert Harvey (215), Joel Selwood (214), Dustin Martin (212), Chris Judd (210) and Brent Harvey (197).

He is third on the all-time Brisbane vote list with 124 behind only Black (184) and Voss (150).

Incredibly, Neale has polled the maximum three votes no less than 46 times – equal with Judd and behind only Ablett (55) and Dangerfield (54). And having played only 227 career games in which votes were awarded, he has been voted best afield in 20.3% of games.

Only Bontempelli, who has polled 42 three voters in 204 eligible games at 20.6%, has picked up three-vote ratings at a higher rate. And only seven other players in history have a three-vote percentage of more than 15% - Fyfe (19.8%), Dangerfield (18.3%), Judd (17.6%), Stewart (17.6%), Ablett Jnr (16.6%), Martin (15.4%) and Tom Mitchell (15.2%).

Neale is one of only four players in history to top 30 votes twice. The others are Fyfe, Judd and Dangerfield.

The first Brownlow Medal winner since West Coast’s Matt Priddis in 2014 not to win All-Australian selection in his medal year, Neale admitted he had no acceptance speech prepared because he didn’t expect to need one.

"It doesn't sit very well at the moment. I'm sure it will sink in at a later date. I'm pretty rattled to be honest," Neale said after being presented with his medal by coach Chris Fagan.

"I did not expect this, and to be amongst some of those names that have won two is unbelievable. To be in Brisbane, preparing for a Grand Final, is amazing. I haven't been involved in this week for a decade, so I'm excited."

He went to great length to thank the key members of his support team – coach Fagan, his teammates and the club, wife Jules and his extended family.

After having briefly contemplated a return to Perth after the 2021 season Neale insisted he was now totally settled in Brisbane and guaranteed there would not be a repeat performance.

“Jules went home to Perth for a couple of weeks recently and when she came back she said Brisbane feels like home now so that was good to hear. We are totally settled here now … how could you not be with the weather we have here.

“I really want to thank Fages (coach Chris Fagan). Ever since I came to Brisbane he’s been like a father figure to me. He’s someone I’ve learned a lot from … and not just football but life in general.

We speak weekly about all things and I’m very lucky to have him as a coach .. just as the club is lucky to have him. I can’t thank him enough for the trust he’s shown in me. He backs me 100% every week, even when I’ve frustrated him at times.

“I want to thank everyone the entire club for the past five years … Fages, Danny Daly, Swanny (CEO Gregg Swan), all the players and staff. It’s an amazing place to come and work every day. I love every second I’m there with my teammates and I’m just so excited about what is to come.”

And he had a special thank you for his wife. “You’re my rock … you put up with way too much from me. I can’t put into words how much I appreciate it … you let me do my job and support me all the way. I love you,” he said.