Lachie Neale leaves the Gabba after Brisbane's win over St Kilda in round 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

AFTER seven matches, Brisbane's season was at a crossroads, and not surprisingly it was co-captain Lachie Neale that has helped drag the Lions from the canvas.

With a 2-5 win-loss record Chris Fagan's team was languishing in 13th position with the finals appearing a long way off.

But like he's done through most of his distinguished career, the two-time Brownlow medallist found another level, and with it, the Lions rose.

By no means was Neale poor during those first seven weeks, but in comparison, what he's done in the past nine matches has been incredible.

As statistics from Champion Data show, he's more prolific, more damaging and having a bigger impact as the Lions have won seven and drawn one of the past nine, including a streak of five consecutive wins.

Starting with 34 disposals in the QClash win over Gold Coast in round eight, Neale has been almost unstoppable.

His average disposals have risen by almost five a game, with all of that coming on the 'outside' via uncontested possessions as he perfectly complements his prowess at the contest.

Neale's kicking efficiency over the nine-game stretch has leapt to 75 per cent (from 62), with his metres gained jumping from 275 to 401m a game.

Direct score assists have also improved by 60 per cent. Neale gave off a career-high six goal assists against Richmond and his three goals against Adelaide on Sunday was the second highest of his 261-game career, and the most he's ever kicked in Lions colours.

Lachie Neale's big lift




AFL Player Ratings






Kicking Efficiency



Uncontested Possessions



Metres Gained



Score Assists



Score Involvements



"Inspirational is the word I'd probably use," teammate Will Ashcroft said of Neale's form.

"You just love playing alongside guys like Lachie and 'Dunks' (Josh Dunkley) especially, who win it on the inside and make everyone else's jobs easier."

Neale has vaulted to third in's Brownlow Predictor as he chases a third 'Charlie', while the coaches have also recognised his burst of excellence.

He has polled 44 AFL Coaches Association votes in the past nine weeks to jump into the top 10.


As Ashcroft pointed out, Neale is not the only midfielder going well for the Lions.

Dunkley has slightly improved since the Lions' slow start to the season and has gone on a tear in recent weeks, averaging 33 disposals a game over the past three matches.

Like Neale, he has improved in overall disposals (+1.6), kicking efficiency, metres gained and score involvements (+1.4).

Neale and Dunkley have had plenty of mates in Brisbane's mid-season surge – Eric Hipwood, Joe Daniher, Harris Andrews, Jarrod Berry and Dayne Zorko among them – but you don't have to look too far beyond the midfield mates to understand how Brisbane's has raised itself to just a win outside the top four.

Josh Dunkley celebrates a goal during Brisbane's win over Adelaide in round 17, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos