REIGNING Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale will this week resume full match simulation with Brisbane after suffering a calf injury to start his pre-season.
The star midfielder, who has been renowned for his durability at AFL level, has faced a disrupted summer having dealt with the soft-tissue concern.
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Neale has sat out the Lions' past two intraclub games but has been involved in competitive work over the past fortnight, having been restricted to running before that.
The Lions, who made last year's preliminary final, returned to training in January with Neale sidelined throughout the first block of sessions.
The 27-year-old will line up against Gold Coast next week in the clubs' practice match ahead of the AAMI Community Series.
Neale produced an outstanding season in 2020, being the runaway winner of the Brownlow Medal after his brilliant campaign that saw him average 27 disposals a game and boot 14 goals.
Injuries have been rare for Neale throughout his career, with the former Docker playing 21 or more games in each of the previous six seasons before last year, when he played all 19 Lions games in the AFL's reduced season.
The gun Brisbane match-winner also collected the Leigh Matthews trophy as the AFL Players' Association's MVP and the AFL Coaches Association's player of the year awards, as well as claiming his second consecutive All-Australian guernsey and best and fairest.