Lachie Neale’s first season as a Brisbane Lion could be described as near perfect. Within 12 months of wearing the maroon, blue and gold the 26-year-old became an All Australian for the first time in his career, finished equal third in the Brownlow Medal count as the league’s best and fairest and won the prestigious Merrett-Murray Medal as Club Champion.

The year started positively for inside midfielder both on and off the field.

In the 2019 pre-season he was nominated by his peers to be a member of the eight-man leadership group and was quick to form a strong relationship with Stefan Martin, Dayne Zorko and Jarryd Lyons at centre bounce.

He set his personal standard high right from the outset. In Round 1’s win over the West Coast Eagles where he had 29 disposals (14 contested) one goal, five clearances and two tackles.

On twelve occasions throughout the year Neale had 30 disposals or more, including Round 23’s match against Richmond when 51 touches for the afternoon; just three shy of the AFL record.

He played in all 24 matches for the Lions in 2019, including their two AFL Finals Series appearances. He averaged 30.9 disposals and 3.8 tackles per game and finished first in the league for total clearances; total centre clearances; total effective disposals; total stoppage clearances and total contested possessions.

Upon receiving his Merrett-Murray medal at the Club Champion night earlier this month, Neale described the last twelve months as a ‘whirlwind.’

He credited the coaching staff for taking his game to a new level in 2019, particularly his Midfield Coach Dale Tapping and Ruck/Midfield Coach Ben Hudson.

“I’ve certainly improved as a player this year, coming from another club and to be able to impact so quickly has been awesome,” he said.

“Thanks to you guys for helping me to be able to do that.”

Neale is determined for the Lions to be even more successful in 2020.

 “From my point of view, I’m hungrier than ever to improve and for this Club to improve and hopefully go a couple further,” he said.