Lachie Neale says he’s ready to pay his debts.
The Brisbane Lions star says he owes so much to football and would have no hesitation spending an extended period away from home in a hub to help keep the AFL season rolling.
The Lions’ say they are happy to play anyone anywhere at any time and after three consecutive weeks at home at the Gabba are now more than happy to live that motto and hit the road.
But first is a blockbuster clash with top-of-the-table Port Adelaide at the Gabba on Saturday night.
After that the side is scheduled to play Collingwood at the MCG and the Swans in Sydney, but with tough new border restrictions and regulatory quarantine periods for sides entering or returning to Queensland from Victoria, due to the spike in Covid 19 cases in that state, the look of the fixtures beyond this weekend are up in the air.
Queensland teams must now spend two weeks in quarantine on returning home after meeting Victorian opposition.
It has led to the likelihood of an extended road trip, but where they are going, for how long and who they will play has yet to be revealed.
Neale says the Lions took pride in being adaptable and were not bothered by the uncertainty.
“We’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen or what’s going on but I know we’ll be ready to roll with the punches,” Neale said.
“The game’s given me so much, and this year it’s probably our time to give back a little bit to the game, so if that’s spending four or five weeks away at a time, I know I’m prepared to do that.
“I know everyone’s in different circumstances but footy’s given me the lifestyle and my living for nine, 10 years now. I love the game, so if can give back, and whatever I’ve got to do to help out the game, I’ll do.
“If that’s living in a hub for five weeks, and then come back here for a bit and then go somewhere else, that’s what I’ll do and I’m sure our club has a similar approach.
“We want to get a season done, and we’re willing to do what we can to do that.’’
The constantly shifting AFL landscape has led to claims from some quarters that this year’s premiership would be accompanied by an asterisk but Neale feels differently.
“It’s such a strange year but whoever wins it (the premiership) will have done an amazing job. I don’t think it’s got an asterisk.”
Port Adelaide are one side that have excelled in hub life and Neale says they present a huge challenge on Saturday night.
“I don’t know what they’re doing in the hub but they’re doing it pretty well,” Neale said.
“They’re just playing some really exciting footy. Over the next couple of days we’ll do a bit more on their (offence) and get to know their game plan a bit more.
“They’ve got some guys in really good form … so there’ll certainly be some challenges there.”