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Lachie leaving Lions? Trade bombshell as Brownlow Medallist eyes fairytale Freo return

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5th September, 2021
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Brisbane Lions superstar Lachie Neale is believed to be considering a shock return to Fremantle for 2022.

Channel 7 News Perth reporter Ryan Daniels reported on Sunday evening that the reigning Brownlow Medallist is set to depart the Lions in a fairytale homecoming to the Dockers, as he and his partner look to begin a family back in Perth.

The news has taken the footy world by storm. Neale is one of the AFL’s most decorated players, earning two All Australian blazers alongside his 2020 Brownlow since departing the Dockers for the Gabba at the end of 2018.

Despite dealing with an ankle injury for much of this season, Neale’s 46-disposal effort in the Lions’ qualifying final loss to Melbourne reaffirmed his status as one of the best players in the game. He racked up another 28 touches in the Lions’ semi-final defeat to the Western Bulldogs.

» Check out the full list of AFL trade rumours here

It’s a second devastating blow to the Lions in just 24 hours, having been knocked out of the 2021 finals series on Saturday night with a thrilling one-point loss to the Bulldogs.

Neale and partner Jules are expecting their first child. It’s believed the trade request is fuelled by a desire to raise their new daughter in Perth. Neale is originally from South Australia, but played 135 games at the Dockers after being drafted in 2011.

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Any trade has several roadblocks to overcome before a deal can be finalised. Neale is contracted to the Lions through to the end of 2023, after signing a five-year deal with the club worth around $4 million at the end of 2018.

However, the looming departure of young gun Adam Cerra from the Dockers could open doors for a potential three-way deal, with Cerra linked heavily to Carlton.

It isn’t all doom and gloom for the Lions, though: they’re 7-0 with Neale sidelined this season, while their record with the superstar in the team is a far more patchy 8-9.

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