Kybybolite / Glenelg / Fremantle / Brisbane
After claiming the 2020 Brownlow Medal, Lachie Neale has cemented himself as one of the best to have ever played AFL, and at only 27 years old, he’s not done yet.
Neale grew up in Kybybolite, a town of approximately 100 people, and it was for the local team where he played his first games of football. Graduating through primary, then middle school, Neale excelled at football and eventually received a scholarship to attend St Peters College in Adelaide.
While living in Adelaide, Neale also represented Glenelg in the SANFL. He played in several league games for Glenelg while also helping them to an Under 18’s Grand Final, and representing South Australia in the National Championships.
A relatively late selection in the draft, Neale heard his name called out by Fremantle with Pick 58 in the 2011 National Draft. A ball magnet who reads the play well, Neale entered Fremantle determined to make his mark early, and he did just that, debuting in Round 4 of 2012. Neale was in and out the side for his first two seasons, including playing in Fremantle’s losing Grand Final in 2013.
With the heartache of losing a Grand Final fresh in his mind, Neale returned ahead of the 2014 season in the best shape yet both physically and mentally, and it was no coincidence this proved to be his breakout year as he became a powerhouse of the Dockers midfield.
Missing only a handful of games from 2014 to 2018, Neale’s 7 seasons at Fremantle were highlighted by his two Best and Fairest wins in 2016 and 2018, and three Ross Glendinning Medals as the best on ground in the Western Derby. With 135 games to his name, Neale requested a move to Brisbane ahead of the 2019 season.
Neale’s became an elite of the competition in 2019 as he slid in to a rejuvenated Brisbane Lions side and helped return the side to finals footy. Alongside his first All-Australian selection, Neale finished 3rd in the Brownlow Medal and capped his season with the Brisbane Lions Best and Fairest.
2020 saw one of the best seasons on record, as Neale dominated the competition. While falling one game short of a Grand Final appearance, Neale took home a clean sweep of the AFL Awards, including the AFLPA MVP, Coaches MVP, a second consecutive All-Australian selection, and the crown jewel; the 2020 Brownlow Medal. In a shortened season with only 18 rounds played, Neale polled a remarkable 31 votes, 10 votes clear of second place.
Neale’s love of the game extends beyond playing. In his spare time he likes to work on the coaching side of the game, analysing footage and strategies with his Brisbane Lions coaches. He leads by example on the field, and off it he works with his younger teammates to help them get the best out of themselves as well.
Away from football, Neale is married to partner Jules who he met while living in Perth. They have recently added a pet dog to their family, and enjoy getting back to Perth and home to Lachie’s family farms in Adelaide when they have a chance.