BRISBANE Lions star Lachie Neale is on track to complete a clean-sweep of the AFL’s biggest individual awards after being named both the coaches and the players MVP for 2020.
Neale took home the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFL Players’ Association’s Most Valuable Player, while he was also crowned the AFL Coaches’ Association Champion Player of the Year.
The Brownlow Medal favourite had a superb season with the Lions and led the League for disposals and finished top-five in the competition for both clearances and contested possessions.
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Neale was voted the most outstanding player by his peers by a huge margin, polling 1120 votes, more than double that of Port Adelaide veteran Travis Boak (419 votes) in second and Melbourne gun Christian Petracca (398 votes) in third.
“It’s an award that I’m super proud to have won, to be voted by those who I play with and against makes it a really special award,” Neale said.
“I really respect the opinion of the other players and to be voted by them this year is something that I will look back on and be really proud of. To be alongside some of the other names who have won this award is a feeling that hasn’t sunk in yet.”
In claiming the AFLCA Player of the Year, Neale becomes the first Brisbane player to do so since the award’s inception in 2003.
In six games this season Neale polled the perfect ten coaches votes to finish with 93 votes ahead of Melbourne dynamo Christian Petracca on 78 votes, one vote ahead of Port Adelaide star Travis Boak, who polled 77 votes to finish in third place.
“I’m thrilled to receive this award. The coaches are the greatest minds in the game and to receive this type of recognition from them is very humbling and something I’m proud of,’’ Neale said.
Lions coach Chris Fagan said it was Neale’s dedication to his craft that made him the player he had become.
“Lachie is relentless in his efforts to improve, he wants to be the best player he can be and he wants success for our club,’’ he said.
“That drive sets a standard for everyone at the Lions.
“His preparation is first class, he works incredibly hard on the fundamentals of the game and his appetite to learn is insatiable.
“As a coach you can’t ask for any more than that.’’