Lachie Neale’s second Brownlow Medal win was a testament to his resilience, hard work, and adaptability. The Brisbane Lions’ midfielder was not the favorite to win the prestigious award, with much of the pre-event focus on other star players like Daicos, Bontempelli, Petracca, and Butters. However, Neale’s consistent performance throughout the season, especially during the final rounds, made him the last man standing with 31 votes.
Brownlow Medal Results
The journey to this win was not smooth sailing for Neale. Late in the season, he faced health challenges, including a flu and minor injuries, which affected his form and the Lions’ performance. Despite these setbacks, Neale doubled down on his preparation, focusing on his touch, stoppage craft, and game vision. His hard work paid off, earning him seven votes in the last three rounds and making him the oldest Brownlow medallist in nearly two decades.
Neale’s win is even more remarkable considering his unconventional path to the AFL. Initially overlooked due to his size, he was the 58th pick by Fremantle in the 2011 draft. He started as a small forward but quickly evolved into a formidable midfielder. His ability to read the play and contribute immediately was evident early in his career, as he played in the 2013 grand final at just 20 years old.
The 2022 trade period brought significant changes to the Brisbane Lions, with the addition of former Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley and talented youngster Will Ashcroft. These changes pushed Neale closer to the inside of the contest, requiring him to focus more on the inside part of his game. This shift in roles proved beneficial for both Neale and the Lions. Neale led the league in clearances and became the prime mover in scoring chains for his team.
Despite these individual accolades, Neale’s focus has always been on team success. His ability to make his teammates better is one of his most significant contributions to the game. This team-first mentality is perhaps why his impact is rated higher by umpires than by All-Australian judges, who may not have the same close vantage point during matches.
Neale’s win adds him to the exclusive list of players who have won multiple Brownlow Medals, a feat achieved by just 16 players in the history of the AFL. However, for Neale, the ultimate goal remains winning a premiership. His local junior footy club, the Kybybolite Tigers, has been waiting for a premiership since 1974, highlighting the rarity and value of such an achievement.
As the Lions prepare for the grand final, Neale’s focus is clear: to put on a good show for the supporters and the club. He envisions his teammate Harris Andrews and coach Chris Fagan holding up the cup at the end of the match, a fitting end to a stellar season.
In summary, Lachie Neale’s second Brownlow Medal win is a story of perseverance, adaptability, and a relentless focus on improvement. His journey from being an overlooked draft pick to becoming one of the AFL’s best midfielders is inspiring. With another Brownlow Medal around his neck, Neale is now setting his sights on the ultimate team prize: a grand final victory.