LACHIE Neale won a Brownlow Medal two years ago, but the Brisbane ball-magnet believes 2022 can be his best season yet.
Neale will run out for his 200th career game on Thursday night when the Lions host Collingwood at the Gabba, as the prolific midfielder looks to continue his fine start to the season.
Averaging 32 disposals a game and leading the League in contested possessions (18) and clearances (nine), the 28-year-old is a major reason behind Brisbane's 3-1 start.
Neale says after a faultless pre-season he's in a great spot.
"I feel body-wise, fitness levels, performance-wise, I can definitely have my best year this year," he said.
"It's still early … but I've set myself up to have one of my better years.
"Talk's pretty cheap at this point in time, I've got to go out and deliver.
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"I feel like I've had a good start and the team's had a good start, which helps.
"I'm loving my footy more than ever. I feel a bit rejuvenated and I'm as hungry as I've ever been."
That hunger, Neale says, comes from a variety of places.
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The South Australian was taken at pick No.58 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft and took some time to establish himself as a regular at Fremantle.
Neale says he always had the belief, but still feels a little uncomfortable being called one of the best players in the game, despite thinking his best football is at that level.
Following his Brownlow triumph in 2020, Neale suffered myriad injuries last year that hampered his continuity.
"In the off-season I was lucky enough to become a father and that's given me a new perspective and new motivation," he said.
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"There was a lot of talk in the off-season about myself as well, which really fuelled me.
"I wanted to prove to our club and my teammates I was as committed as ever and wanted to have a really strong off-season and get ready for a really big impact this year.
"And the other one is where the team's at. I feel like we're in such a good window to challenge the top echelon of teams and for a premiership, and I wanted to play my part in that, and that motivates me more than anything.
"Knowing we have an opportunity, I feel, this year, next year and hopefully a few years after that, to challenge for it, that sits in the back of my head and gets me up out of bed every morning, for sure."