Neale to stick with Brisbane
Melbourne: Reigning Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale has committed to staying with the Brisbane Lions, admitting speculation he could request a trade back to Fremantle got “out of hand”.
In what was shaping as a relatively low-key AFL trade period, Neale’s bombshell consideration of a shift back to Perth turned into a media frenzy this week.
But the 28-year-old met with Lions coach Chris Fagan, chief executive Greg Swann and club football boss Danny Daly yesterday to let them know he was remaining in the Queensland capital.
Neale had been considering returning to Western Australia to be closer to his wife Jules’ family, with the couple expecting their first child in October.
“I’m committed and staying at the footy club,” Neale said. “It’s been a whirlwind few days and everything has gotten a bit out of hand.”
The star midfielder is contracted for another two seasons with the Lions after signing a five-year deal upon leaving Fremantle at the end of 2018.
Neale was drafted to the Dockers in 2011, playing 135 games under coach Ross Lyon before seeking out the Lions for a fresh start.
Neale admitted he and his family had spoken about leaving Brisbane, with WA’s tough border restrictions making the last 18 months difficult for Jules.
“But after sitting down and talking through it with our family and our friends and with the club, it became pretty clear after a couple of days that this was where the best place for us is to be at Brisbane,” he said.
“We believe we can get the support network around us that we need.”