Lachie Neale in Brownlow form: coach
Updated: May 31
Brisbane star Lachie Neale is in better form this year than in his Brownlow Medal-winning AFL season, according to Lions coach Chris Fagan.
Brisbane coach Chris Fagan believes Lachie's improved offensive output has him on track to better his runaway win of the game's most prestigious individual honour in 2020.
The 29-year-old midfielder is averaging 32.1 disposals and almost one goal a game, having starred with 39 touches and two majors in the Lions' win over GWS last week.
Neale sits second behind Melbourne's Clayton Oliver in the AFL Coaches Association's player of the year award and is firmly in contention to win a second Brownlow. The Lions midfielder closed the gap by 7 points on Tuesday with votes for the weekend's games showing Neale got the maximum 9 votes against the Giants, whereas Oliver was rated equal 4th best with 2 votes in the Demons' first loss for the season at home to Fremantle.
Fagan told Fox Footy:
"He had a pretty special year that year (2020) so it's going to be hard to top it, but I think he's more dangerous going forward these days.
"He's hitting the scoreboard a bit himself and getting a bit more involved in the score assists.
"I always think the great players in the game do a lot of damage in the front half of the ground and Lachie's certainly starting to do a bit of that."
Neale's form has been crucial in Brisbane's rise to second spot ahead of a clash with third-placed Fremantle - his old side - at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Fagan has weighed into the controversy surrounding the decision not to pay a 50m penalty against Chad Warner during the chaotic climax to Sydney's narrow win over Richmond last Friday night.
Tiger Dion Prestia was awarded a free kick about 70m from goal just before the final siren sounded at the SCG.
Warner gathered the ball and booted it into the crowd after the siren, having not heard the whistle for the free kick.
It led to appeals from Richmond players for a 50m penalty that would have put Prestia within scoring range.
Fagan was glad the umpires rejected their pleas and Sydney won by six points:
"I was pretty happy that a 50m penalty wasn't paid in that instance.
"I would've thought that would've been a bit of a tragic result, to be honest.
"Technically it may have been there but I think common sense prevailed, and I'm glad that it did."