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‘Honoured’ Neale keeps options open

Watch Lachie Neale's speech from the 2018 Doig Medal. The winner of the 2018 Doig Medal addresses the crowd at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday night.

Lachie Neale said it was a great honour to win his second Doig Medal, awarded at the Doig Medal Presentation Dinner at Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre on Saturday night.

Neale finished the count 22 votes ahead of runner-up David Mundy, with Nat Fyfe in third, Ed Langdon fourth and Luke Ryan rounding out the top five.

Neale praised the club’s first-year players, thanked senior coach Ross Lyon, the Fremantle members and supporters and addressed a potential move away from the club in the off-season. 

“I’ll start with the footy club. I’ve absolutely loved this year at the footy club and I’ve loved the last seven years,” Neale said.

“There’s obviously a bit of an elephant in the room as to what the future might hold with me, but that will sort itself out over the next couple of weeks.

“I can honestly say I’m not sure what’s going to happen with that.

“What I can say is the past seven years have been tremendous for me, the footy club’s been amazing.

“I do call Perth home now so it will be tough to leave if that’s what happens, but as I said there’s still a lot to work through with that.”

Neale’s win goes alongside his 2016 triumph, with the no.58 pick from the 2011 National Draft saying he had never dreamed of having such an impact at the club.

“It’s an absolute privilege to be up here,” Neale said. 

“If you had said to me back in 2011 when I got drafted that I would have won two club best and fairest at Fremantle, I would have said ‘you’re kidding yourself mate!’.

“It’s a true privilege and I’m very humbled to be up here.”

When making his speech, Neale had especially high-praise for Fremantle’s members and supporters.

“To the fans and the members in the room and outside of the room, honestly, you’re some of the best supporters, not only in Australia but in the world from what I’ve seen,” Neale said.

“You guys are fantastic, so thanks for your ongoing support.”

Neale added that his Doig Medal win wouldn’t be possible without the support of his teammates, senior coach Ross Lyon and midfield coach Anthony Rock.

“Ross is a great leader and a guy I respect enormously,” Neale said. 

“I’ve learnt so much from him over the past seven years and a lot of my leadership development has had a lot to do with that. 

“To the players, there’s a lot of special guys in the room today that I’ve played a lot of footy with and I wouldn’t be standing up here without you guys either.

“Anthony Rock, I’ve worked really closely over the past couple of years and he’s helped me develop my craft and I feel I’ve improved the past couple of years with ‘Rocky’ so thank you to you guys and all the other assistants that help out every week.” 

Neale said he could see big things in Fremantle’s future after a season where the club brought in 12 players from the draft and trade periods.

“There’s so many guys, I could go through them all, but all of those first-year guys came in and provided something and provided a spark for this group,” Neale said.

“The future is looking really good with those boys coming in, there are about 10 or 12 new guys and what they’ve brought to the table is fantastic.”

 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs