Brisbane star Lachie Neale has won the 2020 Brownlow Medal for the AFL’s best and fairest player for the first time ever.
The Lions midfielder was given the honour at the Australian Football Leagues annual awards ceremony, which was this year held virtually from six different locations around the country, including The Gabba and Metricon Stadium.
In a record-breaking count, Neale polled 31 votes from 17 games to finish comfortably clear of Port Adelaide’s Travis Boak who nabbed 21 votes.
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Melbourne’s Christian Petracca and St Kilda’s Jack Steele jointly took out third spot after each securing 20 votes.
The 10-vote margin was the equal-biggest final lead in Brownlow Medal history since the 3-2-1 format was introduced, while Neale’s 1.82 votes-per-game was the most in history.
Speaking following the win, the 27-year-old said it was a dream come true.
“It’s unbelievable… I feel really humbled to be in this position and to be among some of those names, it’s still pretty crazy to me,” he said.
“As has been mentioned, the boy from Kybybolite (South Australia) … never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be standing here today.”
Incredibly, Neale’s closest rival in the early stages of the count was first-year Gold Coast midfielder Matt Rowell, before he hurt his shoulder in round five and missed the rest of the season.
The SUNS star, who was last year’s No.1 pick, polled three consecutive three-vote games to sit on nine votes after just round four.
BROWNLOW MEDAL TOP 10
31 Lachie Neale (Brisbane)
21 Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
20 Christian Petracca (Melbourne)
20 Jack Steele (St Kilda)
15 Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)
15 Jack Macrae (Western Bulldogs)
15 Dustin Martin (Richmond)
15 Luke Parker (Sydney)
14 Cam Guthrie (Geelong)
14 Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)