A 4 level lead within the rely in spherical eight prolonged to a lead of seven votes (spherical 9), 9 votes (spherical 11) and 11 votes (spherical 12), Neale successful the medal with two rounds to spare.
Neale polled three votes in consecutive video games from rounds two to 5, then once more in spherical eight, 9, 11, 12, 16 and 18.
He was an integral ingredient in Brisbane’s run to the preliminary ultimate, the membership’s first since 2004.
Born in tiny Kybybolite in South Australia close to the Victorian border, Neale performed his junior footy on the native membership. He then performed for Glenelg within the SANFL earlier than being drafted to Fremantle at decide 58 within the 2011 draft.
That surprisingly lowly place within the draft was so as a result of recruiters thought of him small and slightly sluggish to go larger.
Neale requested a commerce from Fremantle to Brisbane on the finish of 2018 and acquired there for decide six, 19 and 55, with Freo’s decide 30 and Neale heading to the Lions.
“It is unbelievable,” Neale stated. “I really feel actually humbled to be on this place and to be amongst a few of these names [former winners] remains to be fairly loopy to me.”
Neale mirrored on the actual fact he wasn’t a certainty to get picked in his draft 12 months.
“I can not management what folks say or take into consideration me,” he stated. “In my draft 12 months I believed I used to be enjoying fairly good footy and felt like I wasn’t getting recognised a lot and did not assume I might get drafted.”
He praised the function Ross Lyon performed in his early days at Fremantle, whereas additionally thanking present coach Chris Fagan and his household and teammates.
“Ross was an awesome affect on me and he actually drove me to turn out to be a greater participant and I could not thank him sufficient for the work that he did with me and my time at Fremantle.
“We had a few actually stern conversations early on in my profession, he mainly instructed me once I got here again from my first off season that if I got here again like this once more I might be a fats little ahead pocket at Glenelg fairly quickly and play my 20 or 30 video games and be out of the system.”
Such is the necessity to social distance within the pandemic, this rely additionally missed the normal second the place final 12 months’s winner places the medal across the neck of the present winner.
So Neale’s former teammate Nat Fyfe instructed the Lion on video hyperlink that he wished he may hug him, and left the 2020 winner to awkwardly place the medal round his personal neck.
His 31 vote tally was exceptional given it was solely a 17 recreation season. His 2020 haul would have gained the medal 13 instances in different years this century, which had been all 22 spherical seasons.
In the meantime, if anybody wanted anymore of a reminder of the precocious expertise that’s Matt Rowell, they acquired it on Sunday night time.
The 2019 no.1 draft decide from the Gold Coast Suns polled three votes in his second, third and fourth video games to guide the race tied with Lachie Neale.
He was injured in spherical 5 and missed the remainder of the season.
The rely, performed at Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium by AFL chief government Gillon McLachlan, was uncommon given the pandemic.
McLachlan and the AFL opted to keep away from a gala night on the Gold Coast with the vast majority of the league, as a substitute simply grand ultimate groups Richmond and Geelong had been there, in addition to a couple of Gold Coast and St Kilda gamers.
Different gamers gathered on the Gabba, the place Neale was, and Optus Stadium in Perth, Adelaide Oval, the Sydney Cricket Floor and tv studios in Melbourne.
Anthony is a sports activities reporter at The Age.