THE Brisbane Lions are yet to speak with Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale about his desire to be traded back to Fremantle.
The star midfielder, who is contracted for another two seasons, is considering a return to Perth to be closer to his wife’s family.
The couple is expecting the arrival of their first child together in October.
Neale played 135 games for the Dockers before seeking out the Lions for a fresh start at the end of 2018.
Lions football manager Danny Daly said the club was still attempting to talk with Neale after news broke on Sunday night of his expected trade request.
“I think the club will come out and make a statement sometime this afternoon once we’ve had a chance to speak to Lachie and work through it,” Daly told Radio TAB on Monday.
“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.”
Brisbane gave up two first-round draft picks for Neale, who has helped catapult them into premiership contention.
In three seasons with the Lions, Neale has won two best-and-fairest awards, been named an All Australian twice and last year collected the league’s highest individual honour when he finished 10 votes clear of Port Adelaide’s Travis Boak in the Brownlow Medal count.
If the 28-year-old does exit, it would be a hammer blow to the Lions who are reeling after one of the most devastating defeats in their history.
Brisbane was bundled out of the finals in straight sets for the second time in three seasons when they lost a one-point thriller against the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba on Saturday night.
This year, Neale was down on his stellar form of 2019 and 2020 due to a number of injuries, including back, ankle and shoulder issues, but did manage to break the all-time record for possessions in a finals game.
In the Lions’ qualifying final loss to Melbourne two weeks ago, he tallied 46 disposals to smash the previous mark of 43 set by former Collingwood champion Dane Swan in 2011.
The Lions managed to win all seven games Neale missed due to injury and illness this year, including thumping victories over finalists Port Adelaide and GWS.
A Neale homecoming would more than makeup for Fremantle’s impending loss of young midfielder Adam Cerra, who has already requested a trade back to Victoria.
(C) AAP 2021