Fresh off winning his second Brownlow Medal, Lachie Neale didn’t mince words as he found himself surrounded by supporters on home soil.
Lachie Neale told media the Lions love their coach, Chris Fagan, and are excited to compete for a premiership under his leadership.(ABC News: Michael Rennie)
“[We] love the passion and energy that our fans bring, they drive us,” he said of the crowds lining up for Tuesday’s open training session at Springfield.
“I think the [crowd] record at the Gabba this year speaks for itself, and what our fans do for us.”
The two-time winner, alongside teammate Charlie Cameron, have captured the hearts of Queenslanders across the state, with young fans especially fond of Cameron’s famous goal celebration, the motorbike.
Young fans doing Charlie Cameron’s famous motorbike goal celebration.(ABC News)
Donning their maroon Lions merch, supporters told the ABC they were “keen as” to see their team bring home a grand final win.
Harper Cooper, Axel Allthorpe, Lucin Andonov and Noah Mahne play for the Sandgate Hawks. They’re keen to see the Brisbane Lions win their final game this season too.(ABC News: Michael Rennie)
“They’ve had a lot more finals experience recently, they started off a bit slow, but I think they’ve got the confidence now,” Sandgate Hawks player Axel Allthorpe said, before joking that his grand final-winning team would be happy to pass their wisdom on to the Lions.
Wendy Litherland — who is heading down south for the grand final — has no such reservations.
Wendy Litherland will be heading down to Melbourne to watch the Lions play Collingwood this weekend.(ABC News: Michael Rennie)
“Bloody oath we can [win]… They’ve just been phenomenal,” she said.
“You can see they’re just playing for each other and having a great time.
“It’s all about what you can do to win rather than what the other team can do.”
The Brisbane Lions mascot, Roy, was in attendance at the open training session to snap photos with supporters of all ages.(ABC News)
Famed player revels in leadership, thanks coach
Describing coach Chris Fagan as a “friend for life”, Neale paid tribute to the man poised to lead the Lions to the finals.
“Where he’s coming from, as a teacher to coaching in an AFL grand final, is an amazing story,” he said.
Brisbane Lions at training.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
Brisbane Lions players stretch at training.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
Brisbane Lions train in front of fans.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
Coaches watch over Brisbane Lions as they train.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
Crowds at Brisbane Lions training.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
Fans at Brisbane Lions open training session.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
The Brisbane Lions training session attracted a crowd.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
The crowd watches Brisbane Lions as they train in Springfield.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
Young Brisbane Lions fans hold up signs.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
Young supporters watching Brisbane Lions at training.(ABC News: Jess Stewart)
Lachie Neale of the Lions heads out to train during a Brisbane Lions AFL training session at Brighton Homes Arena in Brisbane, Tuesday, September 26, 2023. (AAP Image/Jono Searle) NO ARCHIVING(AAP: Jono Searle)
“[We] love him dearly.”
The two-time Brownlow winner said the support of his coach and leadership team, alongside the Lions’ younger players, made all the difference this season.
“I think he (Fagan) saw me fitting in really well with this midfield [position] and the role that I could play, getting some of the younger mids up to speed with the game,” Neale said.
“He loved my strengths, didn’t mention any of my weaknesses, and he thought I’d be a crucial part of a premiership team at this club.”
Source: AFL NEWS ABC