Reigning Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale has revealed a scan on his back during the week returned “not a great result” but will not use it as an excuse for any drop in form.
Speaking after his Brisbane Lions opened their 2021 account with a one-point win over Collingwood at Marvel Stadium courtesy of a goal after the siren from Zac Bailey, Neale said he was “battling a fair bit” with his body early in the season.
Lachie Neale in action on Thursday nightCredit:Getty
The midfielder was solid if not quite at his best against the Pies, finishing with 21 disposals and a long-range goal.
Asked about the matter on Thursday, the club’s official position was that Neale did not have a fracture in his back. Neale would not confirm the specifics of his injury, but nor did he suggest that it wasn’t significant.
“To be honest, I’m battling a fair bit. But once I put my hand up to play, I’m the same as everyone. I’ve got to go out there and perform. I thought the first half I was OK. I was labouring a little bit late and I am pretty sore,” Neale told The Age.
“I’ve got a bit going on but I’m sure there’s other guys in the competition that are a bit sore as well. It’s something that I’ll deal with and hopefully it doesn’t keep me out of any games.”
Sore: Lachie Neale at the MCG on Thursday night.Credit:Getty Images
It had been an eventful week for Neale, who announced via social media in recent days that wife Julie was pregnant with the couple’s first child.
Julie is back in Brisbane as the Lions deal with an indefinite period on the road.
“She’s going well. She’s got her parents in Brissy, which is great. She hasn’t been by herself there. It’s great news and I’m excited to become a father and I can’t wait for that next chapter in my life,” Lachie said of Julie.
Lachie had also been at the heart of a storm last week following his run-in with Geelong coach Chris Scott that led to Scott copping a $10,000 suspended fine. Neale was reluctant to reheat the matter.
“I won’t really comment on that. I’m past that. He’s said his piece, I don’t think I really need to say my piece, so I won’t talk about that,” Neale said.
He was relieved that the Lions had managed to snap their winless start to the season and added that the team was coping well with the extended stay in Victoria.
“Just relief for me probably at the moment. It would have been not very ideal to be zero and three.
“It’s been a challenge, I suppose, but we embrace it. I haven’t heard any of our boys sook. We’ve been very well looked after.”
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