Lachie Neale will be staying at Brisbane next season, ending speculation that he was looking to move to Western Australia and join the Fremantle Dockers for family reasons.
It was reported on Sunday that Neale was set to request a trade back to Fremantle as he and his pregnant wife wanted to raise their child closer to her family.
But Neale has today quashed those rumours in a video released on the Brisbane Lions’ official website.
“It’s been a whirlwind few days and everything’s gotten a little bit out of hand but I’m fully committed to the club,” he said in the video.
Neale did admit there was an element of truth to the rumours, but confirmed he was keen to stay at the club he moved to ahead of the 2019 season.
“I’m excited to be pushing on. Clearly, as a lot of people know now, my wife’s heavily pregnant. She’s from WA, [there is] a lot of family and support network and friends in WA. Behind the scenes we had a couple of conversations about how that looked. With the COVID situation it’s been really hard for her to see her family and friends as it has for a lot of people. I’ve got a great support network in Perth as well.
“So we were half considering the prospect of getting back at some stage. But after sitting down and talking it through with our family and our friends and with the club and with my management team, it became pretty clear, after a couple of days, that this is where the best place for us is to be – at Brisbane.
“Firstly for my footy, and secondly we believe we can get the support network around us that we need.”
“So we know it’s challenging times for everyone with COVID and we’re no different. We’re human and [it] probably got played out a little bit sooner and earlier than what we thought.
“It sort of got blown out of proportion a bit. Now we’ve made that decision we’re really happy and can’t wait to get stuck into next year.
“I think one of the biggest things as well is I’ve got unfinished business here. I want to be holding up a cup in a Lions guernsey and that’s what I’ll be working towards over the next couple of years.”
Lions fans may be wary, however, after Dayne Beams made a similar public declaration that he’d see out his contract with Brisbane at the end of 2018 – only to be traded to Collingwood that offseason anyway.