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Neale's 'sleepless nights' after sloppy Derby display

Alex Malcolm  August 20, 2015 7:30 AM

AFL 2015 Rd 20 - Fremantle v West Coast

Freo's Lachie Neale gets a kick away during the Derby loss to West Coast

Over the last couple of days I have had a couple of sleepless nights thinking about a couple of (mistakes)

LACHIE Neale admits he has had a couple of sleepless nights following a "sloppy" performance in Fremantle's Western Derby loss to West Coast last Sunday.

The 22-year-old has produced an outstanding 2015 season and in two of the past three Derbies, had won the Ross Glendinning Medal for best afield.

But last Sunday Neale struggled, going at just 66 per cent efficiency with his 24 touches and committing five clangers - equalling the most he'd had in a game in his 65 career matches - as the Dockers succumbed to their great rivals.

Neale was incredibly honest about his performance last weekend.

"I was a little bit off," Neale said.

"(I was) particularly sloppy with the ball in hand and a couple of dropped marks as well. I can't really put my finger on anything I did in the lead-up or my preparation. It was a really average game from me and I can't wait to get out there and rectify it.

"Over the last couple of days I have had a couple of sleepless nights thinking about a couple of (mistakes).

"But that's the beauty of our team. We have been able to back up the next week and go again, and I'll take that same approach this week."

Effective ball use remains a source of frustration for Dockers coach Ross Lyon. He said post-match that his side needed to improve ahead of September.

Neale said the players wouldn't find a quick fix but they were continuing to work hard.

"I don't think there is one key thing that we can deliver on to get that back," Neale said.

"We just have to keep chipping away at training and in games to try and find that. And I think over the past two or three weeks, we have shown glimpses of our best. But we haven't been able to put it together for four quarters.

"So we just have to make sure our mids and defenders, all lines, forwards as well, are on the same page with our ball movement and our leading patterns and things like that, and getting them to click because we'll need it in a few weeks' time."

The Dockers face North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Neale admitted he had a soft spot for the Kangaroos as a kid despite growing up in South Australia. He said Brent Harvey, a man who debuted when Neale was just three years old, was one of his heroes.

"Brent's a champion of the game," Neale said. 

"He's obviously played a lot of footy and growing up I actually had a bit of a soft spot for North so I loved the way that he played. Although he's a bit quicker than me I tried to sort of take bits and pieces from his game growing up."

Even though Harvey is 37 and has played 403 games, Neale said he remained a key focus.

"I think it's evident that every time that we've played North, we've sort of had him as a team target because he can be a really damaging player," Neale said.

"It's nothing to do with the person that he is. It's about the way he plays his footy and he's a fantastic player so for us we've just targeted him to try and stop his influence."