Lachie Neale has proved a pleasant surprise for the Lions.
Lachie Neale has proved a pleasant surprise for the Lions.

Lions plotted Neale move before Beams bombshell

LACHIE Neale is the new king in the north.

The relentless ball-hunter is the leading possession winner in the AFL but it is fair to say Brisbane had no idea of the player they were getting when they rang his manager midway through last season.

The Lions were after a ­pressure forward who could also hit the scoreboard and thought injury-plagued former Cat Lincoln McCarthy might be interested in a fresh start in Queensland.

It was during those discussions that manager Tim Lawrence mentioned that another client, McCarthy's best mate Neale, might also be available.

It is also fair to say there was a frantic review of the club's TPP that night to see if they could go after Neale.

It has been reported that Neale was a replacement for Dayne Beams but Brisbane had committed to him and ­McCarthy long before their former skipper dropped his bombshell and walked out to return to the Pies.

Brisbane knew Neale was a gun; what they will happily say now is that they weren't ­expecting him to take his game to a new level here.

Neale is the leading ball-winner in the competition. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Neale is the leading ball-winner in the competition. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

He hasn't just matched Beams' numbers, he has dwarfed them. After his third 40-possession game against Essendon on Saturday he is the leading ball-winner in the competition and ranks two ­behind Brownlow Medal challenger Patrick Cripps for contested possessions.

Lions football manager David Noble has no doubt he has found another gear.

Neale says being fully fit for the first time in a couple of years has helped but admits he feels like he is using his major assets to be more damaging.