Lachie Neale says he’s ‘committed and staying’ at Brisbane Lions amid Fremantle Dockers speculation

Chris RobinsonThe West Australian
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VideoLachie Neale announces backflip to stay at Brisbane.

Lachie Neale has pledged his commitment to Brisbane, with the star midfielder set to resist the temptation to request a trade back to WA.

Neale became the talk of the football world this week when 7NEWS reported the Brownlow medallist was weighing up a move back to Fremantle after three seasons with the Lions.

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Brisbane confirmed in a statement on Monday that the midfielder was taking time to considering where to raise his family, as he and his wife Jules prepare to welcome their first child in the coming weeks.

In a video on Thursday morning, Neale confirmed he would remain in Queensland following talks with Lions coach Chris Fagan, football manager Danny Daly and CEO Gregg Swann.

“I’m committed and staying at the footy club,” Neale said.

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“It’s been a whirlwind few days, and everything’s got a little out of hand.

“But I’m fully committed to the club. I came in and told Fages and DD and Swanny that that’s the case. I’m excited to be pushing on.”

Neale said he and Jules had been “half considering” the prospect of a WA return at some stage, but said they had come to the realisation this week that Brisbane was the best place for them to be.

“(Jules) has a lot of family and support network and friends in WA,” he said.

“Behind the scenes, we had a couple of conversations about how that looked moving forward.

Lachie Neale says he’s committed to the Lions.
Camera IconLachie Neale says he’s committed to the Lions. Credit: Matt King/AFL Photos/via AFL Photos

“Obviously, with the COVID situation the last couple of years, it’s been really hard for her to see her family and friends as it has for a lot of people.

“We were half considering the prospect of getting back at some stage. But after sitting down and talking through it with our family and our friends and the club and my management team, it became pretty clear after a couple of days that this is the best place for us to be.”

Neale said the issue had been played out earlier and more publicly than he had envisioned, with a strong public reaction since the story broke on Sunday night.

“It has been a little bit rough, some of the stuff, and in the media... there’s obviously always going to be social media stuff attached,” he said.

“I feel like we’ve done a great job in avoiding a lot of that stuff, but it probably has taken its toll a little bit.

“I’m pretty weary and tired at the moment. But I’m super excited about what the future holds for both of us, and we’ve got a beautiful baby girl on the way in four weeks. We’ve got a lot to look forward to.”

Neale said he had “unfinished business” at the Lions on the back of last weekend’s one-point semifinal loss to the Western Bulldogs, which marked the club’s fifth defeat in six finals since his arrival for the start of the 2019 season.

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