Star AFL midfielder Lachie Neale has recommitted to the Brisbane Lions until the end of 2026, putting to rest any speculation he could return to Fremantle.
Despite being contracted until the end of the 2023 season, the Lions have confirmed Neale has signed a new three-year deal
Neale considered a shock move back to the Dockers last off-season for family reasons when Western Australia's border was closed because of COVID-19 issues.
The 29-year-old was forced to speak publicly after an intense few days of speculation once a report was floated about his future in September last year.
Neale in March revealed he had "some minor discussions" with wife Jules, who is originally from Perth, about seeking a trade back to Fremantle.
He played 135 games for the Dockers between 2012 and 2018, claiming the club's Doig Medal twice.
But with travel around Australia back to normal, Neale and his young family are far more settled in the Queensland capital as the third-placed Lions seek to win their first premiership since 2003.
"The goal is definitely to hold up a cup in a Lions guernsey," Neale said.
"The boys are really hard-working people who are trying to make themselves better and we've struck a really nice balance.
"The team's will to improve and will to get better is first class and I feel like we're set for a really sustained successful period.
"I'd love to hold up more than one (cup) but I'd happily take one.
"We've come a long way and we have a group that's ready to go and we've had some experience in finals now."
Neale is right in contention to add a second Brownlow Medal to the one he claimed in 2020.
Lions football boss Danny Daly was thrilled Neale would be staying for at least another four seasons.
"Players like Lachie Neale don't come around every day, so for him to put pen to paper is a huge moment for the Brisbane Lions and at a very exciting time for us," Daly said.
"Since the day Lachie arrived at the club, he has been a fantastic player on the field, capped off with a Brownlow Medal, but he has also been extremely valuable in what he brings to us off the field."
Australian Associated Press
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