No surprise as ex-Docker, now Lion Lachie Neale wins the 2020 Brownlow Medal

Brisbane star Lachie Neale has been elevated to the pantheon of AFL greats after winning the AFL Brownlow Medal.

Neale polled 31 votes including 10 best on grounds to win ahead of out Travis Boak (21), Jack Steele (20) and Christian Petracca (20). It was the equal biggest winning margin under the Brownlow’s 3-2-1 voting system.

The former Fremantle midfielder was rewarded for his dominant season and after entering the count as an overwhelming favourite.

Neale grew up in the tiny South Australian town Kybybolite but joined Michael Voss, Simon Black and Jason Akermanis as Brisbane Lions’ Brownlow medallists.

Neale took the lead in round four after his third successive best on ground and that set the tone for the rest of the night.

“It’s unbelievable. I feel really humbled to be in this position and be amongst some of those names is pretty crazy to me,” he said.

“The boy from Kyby. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be standing here today. There’s a sense of relief that it’s over now and I have the medal.”

Neale is in his second season at Brisbane after stunning the football world by asking for a trade from Fremantle at the end of 2018. He finished equal third when Nat Fyfe won last season’s Brownlow but won the AFL Coaches Association and AFL Players’ Association awards this year.

Fyfe paid tribute to Neale as he handed over the title from Perth.

“Enormous year,” Fyfe said.

“You came to us at Freo as a late draft pick and really from day one set about proving to the competition how good you could be. What you’ve done at Brisbane over the lats three seasons is turn into one of the most consistent players in the competition and an absolute superstar.”

Lions captain Dayne Zorko said Neale was one of the key reasons the club had soared up the ladder to play in this year’s preliminary final.

“Obviously he accumulates numbers really well but he helps us as midfielders on and off the track,” Zorko said.

“His leadership since he’s come to the club (has been great). He sat back for the first few months and let it unfold but then he knew where he needed to slot in and has been able to do that. He’s been instrumental and an important part of our football club.”

Carlton’s Sam Walsh won mark of the year, Collingwood’s Josh Daicos claimed goal of the year, while Richmond’s Bachar Houli received the Jim Stynes Community Leadership award.

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