Brisbane Lions confirm star Lachie Neale weighing up return to Perth to play for Fremantle Dockers

Headshot of Catherine Healey
Catherine HealeyThe West Australian
Email Catherine Healey
VideoWA’s corporate high-flyers have splurged up to $3600 a seat for the AFL Grand Final at Optus Stadium

The Brisbane Lions have today confirmed reports star Lachie Neale is interested in returning to Perth to potentially play for the Fremantle Dockers in 2022.

As first reported by 7NEWS’ Ryan Daniels, Neale and his pregnant partner Jules are weighing up their interstate future as they await the impending birth of their first child.

The couple, who just last week celebrated Jules’ baby shower with friends in Brisbane, are expecting their first child in October.

Brisbane gave up picks six, 19 and 55 in the national draft to prise a contracted Neale and pick 30 out of Fremantle in 2018.

In a statement the club confirmed Neale was interested in a return to Perth for family reasons.

“Lions CEO Greg Swann, GM of Football Danny Daly and Senior Coach Chris Fagan sat down with the Brownlow medallist following reports he was seeking to return to Western Australia,” the statement read.

Lachie Neale poses with the Brownlow Medal alongside wife Jules.
Camera IconLachie Neale poses with the Brownlow Medal alongside wife Jules. Credit: Quinn Rooney/via AFL Photos

“Neale and his wife Jules are expecting their first child and he has confirmed the couple are weighing up where they would like to raise their family.

“He did not request a trade but has asked for some time to have further discussions with his wife and family.”

Neale, a two-time Doig Medallist, is believed to be on a lucrative deal of around $800,000 per season at the Lions.

Lachie Neale and his pregnant wife Jules.
Camera IconLachie Neale and his pregnant wife Jules. Credit: Instagram

The reigning Brownlow Medallist shocked the club when rumours of his return to Freo first emerged on Sunday.

“It’s all news to us. As far as we’re concerned, he’s got two years of his contract left and that’s where it is at,” Lions’ GM Danny Daly said on Monday morning.

But just hours later, the club conceded Neale had a big decision to make.

Club great Matthew Pavlich urged caution from the Dockers as they approached the likely trade, warning against overextending themselves.

Matthew Pavlich has warned Fremantle not to go all-out to secure former teammate Lachie Neale.
Camera IconMatthew Pavlich has warned Fremantle not to go all-out to secure former teammate Lachie Neale. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Media

“Lachie’s a bit older than he was when he left three or four years ago. How many more years has he got? What are we paying him? What are we giving in terms to get him back?,” he said on SEN.

“It can’t be at all costs, and I think that’s the point with all trades and free agency stuff. It has to be a part of your plan and strategy.”

With midfielder Adam Cerra already set for a trade home to Victoria, Neale’s possible arrival could boost the Dockers’ midfield already stacked with the likes of Nat Fyfe, David Mundy, Andy Brayshaw and Caleb Serong.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails