by Liam Watson
If there was any form of a shining light to emerge from Fremantle’s shock fall from grace, it was Lachie Neale. The 23-year-old led the midfield of the Dockers, having a stellar season to become their most prolific player.
With Nat Fyfe injured early, David Mundy battling some injuries and form compared to an impressive 2015 and Michael Barlow simply out of favour Neale took this as an opportunity which he didn’t waste, to elevate his game to new heights.
Despite the difficult circumstances playing for a bottom four side, Neale was still the leading disposal getter of the 2016 home and away season, a more than impressive feat. He can also consider himself very unlucky to miss out on All-Australian selection in the final 22.
Fremantle are expected to make amends in 2017 and can’t possibly do worse next season, with some handy recruiting addressing their need for key position players as well as the return of big names who were all sorely missed through injury.
Neale himself is set to become a pivotal part in his team’s rebuild to rise up the ladder, having signed a contract extension amid strong speculation he could leave.
|2017 Est. Position:||MID|
|Games in 2016:||22|
|Average in 2016:||112.6|
|100+ games in 2016:||18|
|Sub 80 games in 2016:||2|
|Price range in 2016:||$562K-$625K|
|Missed games last season:||
Amazingly, he did have just the two sub 80 games last season. When taking into consideration that one of those scores is 76, it just shows the incredibly consistent season that Neale managed to produce and more importantly, what we may see more of in the future.
His scores were Dependlebury like numbers, and became a handy captain choice for those that did have Neale in their sides.
Will he continue to rack up possessions and points at ease with the return of Fyfe? Neale took up a huge amount of responsibility and perhaps with Fyfe’s presence back in the middle it could limit Neale’s pill collecting capacity, or in other words reduce his workload.
We saw what Mitch Robinson did to Neale with a very hard tag, however that’s the only real poor score Neale had, lowering his colours to a tag. Therefore, it can be viewed as an outlier.
** late mail from Jock.. Lachie Neale having minor knee surgery, will return to full training early January**
“Reigning Fremantle best-and-fairest winner Lachie Neale will have an interrupted pre-season after undergoing knee surgery recently.
The minor procedure on his right knee will prevent him from taking part in full training until January.
He is expected to be available for selection for Round 1 next season.”
Neale is a set and forget selection based on his durability, so there should be no need to trade him out. An average of 110+ once more will lock him in as one of the top midfielders you can find in Supercoach.
Coaches might also think he can achieve yet another rise in his scoring average, hoping for something around 115+ to continue his upwards trend. However, if Neale can maintain that 110+ level of scoring it will be good enough to make him finish as one of the top ranked midfielders.
In the prime of his career and durable, the perfect combination.
- Could be a POD to begin the season with his high price and returning teammates that may be considered in starting teams instead for discounted prices.
- His lowest disposal count was 18 and the next worst is 26, so he was always in the game. Only Mitch Robinson with his aggressive style could curtail Neale’s influence.
- Many injury-affected Dockers will return and as a result will be available at cheaper prices than usual and will attract interest, given the discounts they should receive. Nat Fyfe, Harley Bennell and Aaron Sandilands are all important inclusions to the Docker’s 22, and at the same time should be very popular starting selections provided they are fit. If you select these all players to start, can you afford to select Neale from the same team? Fremantle will have to perform very well for all these players to score consistently well for your Supercoach team.
- You should expect clubs to put more work into Neale, having a whole summer to look at his influence on games.
- Won’t be cheap to begin with, with a price that can easily drop with poor scores early.
- Late mail from Jock – restricted pre season due to knee, news has broken since Liam wrote this ripper.
Everything looks promising for Neale, with nothing really getting in his way for him to be able to remain as one of the AFL’s best midfielders, where at his age there is plenty more to come.
He has also established himself as a bona fide Supercoach ultra-premium with very consistent scores coaches love.
You will be paying a fair bit of money for Neale, but it would be no surprise to see him only getting better from here, or at least keep up his good form. He should remain amongst the best midfielders in fantasy, so it will be money well spent.
Another solid overview Liam! Have a chat with him below, or over on twitter: @LiamWatson77
|This article has been penned as part of the Jock Reynolds Community Series, where anyone from within our proud community can have their say in front of their peers. These men and women have displayed the spirit of togetherness, positivity and community that we value significantly.|
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