Lachie NealeLOCKie Neale?

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 Price: $612,800
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:
  • 0
Significant history:
  • Has not missed a game since round 2, 2014.
  • In that year he also cemented a spot in the Docker’s line up, given he played just eight games the previous season.
  • Supercoach season averages from 2012-2016: 47.4, 86.9, 87.2, 104.3 and 112.6 respectively.

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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.

RISK FACTOR

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.”

SELECTION PURPOSE

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.

THE GOOD

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.

THE DOWNSIDE

  • 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.

THE VERDICT

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.

YES

Liam Watson

Another solid overview Liam! Have a chat with him below, or over on twitter: @LiamWatson77

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13 Comments

TRIGGER HAPPY · 27/11/2016 at 16:44

Great write up Liam.

Was going to be a starter as his numbers stack up with the best of them but thanks to the late breaking news from Jock he has gone down to maybe/probably not.

Will watch in the preseason games but the words knee surgery and wont return to training till Jan (meaning he misses a fair chunk) puts up some red flags. Same story with the extractor.

I N Pieman · 27/11/2016 at 17:35

Super relevant. Nicely done Liam. Noticed some time back that he is very durable. Basically 3 seasons straight. Can't ignore that now. The knee injury needs to be monitored. Will go very close to making my side. Probably a bye structure call

Bontemwaldo · 27/11/2016 at 18:08

With his influence on games now obvious and freo hoping to step back up to be competitive next year,you would think there would be plenty of coaches looking at how to blunt lachies influence.
Robbo tagging him to a 51 is a real worry because it shows all coaches he's taggable ..
All of the premos in the past (danger , pendles , GAJ etc.) have been too good on the inside to be stopped.
Only concern for me is he has a few more games like this in 2017 , this along with the influence of Fyfe returning are big
.. And with treloar , Fyfe , Bont all the same price or cheaper couldn't justify his price tag

Kev · 27/11/2016 at 18:48

Sandi hitting it down his gob will help his clearance game, just can't ignore how he goes with the return of Fyfe. His starting price and knee surgery make me a little bit wary. Reckon he'll drop to mid 500's once that hard tag comes. Unlikely to start

Waz · 27/11/2016 at 20:28

Not sure worrying about a possible 50k price drop is worth it in the end. Fyfes return, I believe will help him so will a healthy sandi. No substitute for consistency in sc and can improve. Lock for me.

    Kev · 28/11/2016 at 07:25

    Few question marks over Neale at this stage, Waz. You want zero doubts over a guy costing 610k

      Waz · 29/11/2016 at 01:25

      No doubt for me Kev. 🙂

Steeeve · 27/11/2016 at 20:34

In 2015 he killed the bottom sides and struggled against the top ones. That was his last season with One Nathaniel Fyfe. He took a step up last year for sure, but I'm worried he might put in a couple of shockers early. Will try to grab him around the 520K mark.

Thommo · 27/11/2016 at 21:21

I had this dude last year and he was gold! Never missed a game and super consistent. In my top 8 guns to pick from at this point.

Liam Watson · 27/11/2016 at 21:34

My verdict has definitely changed after hearing about this knee surgery, will have to wait and see if he manages to play some pre season matches first before making a definite call. This article was written without me knowing anything about the knee issue.

    TRIGGER HAPPY · 27/11/2016 at 21:59

    Yeah got that mate all good
    Unfortunately a couple of the young guns r gonna b later starters

    Wait. Watch. And see.

Moustachio · 28/11/2016 at 00:36

You make a good point about not doubling down on too many Dockers. Fyfe, Sandi and Bennell all very tempting. Together with the late start to pre season, I think I will rule the red line through Neales name for the start squad. Can afford to be stingy, spoilt for choice in mids this year!

General Soreness · 29/11/2016 at 10:58

Any post season surgery must be a caution sign, but prior to that was almost at lock status for me. Agree with the YES verdict Liam, great write up, but need to monitor that damn knee.

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