Lions are more than Lachie Neale



Brisbane coach Chris Fagan bristle when asked about the red-hot form of gun midfielder Lachie Neale against Richmond last week.

“We are not a one-man team,” Fagan said ahead of the AFL elimination final against Melbourne at the MCG on Friday night.

“Anyone would think we were the way Lachie’s game was spoken about last week. It was a great game, but we had a lot of other fantastic contributors.

“We want Lachie to play his best footy but we want the other guys playing in the team to be at their best.”

Neale received a perfect 10 in the Gary Ayres Award for best finals player in the two-point win over Richmond but the Lions also received strong displays from Hugh McCluggage, Zac Bailey, Brandon Starcevich and Daniel McStay, who were also amongst the points.

Starcevich said he expected the Demons to tag Neale as the likes of Melbourne’s James Harmes did earlier in the season in two big wins over the Lions.

“We have got to look after Lachie when he gets those taggers put on him,” Starcevich said.

“There were a few times the back end of the year where we didn’t help him out enough. We addressed it. His ability to win the ball and get the ball going our way is phenomenal so we want to try and make the most of that.”

Fagan granted Neale would have to “fight his one-on-one battle as will all of the other players”.

Vice-captain and key defend Harris Andrews said Neale was “huge” last week against Richmond where he had 39 disposals and 15 clearances.

“To sit back and reflect on how important he is for us is just inspirational,” he said.

Andrews said he would have his work cut out stopping dangerous Melbourne forwards Ben Brown, Luke Jackson and Max Gawn.

The 25-year-old is determined to reverse the Lions’ recent poor form against the Demons.

“It is pretty disappointing and pretty unacceptable as well as being honest,” he said.

“We view this as a good opportunity to gain some respect back against them.”

The Lions have not won at the MCG since 2014 and have lost their last four games to the defending premiers.

“We understand the enormity of the task and we understand that Melbourne are by a mile the red-hot favourites, as they should be,” Fagan said.

“The bottom line is that when the siren goes scores are level and it will all depend on our effort and attitude after that.”

Fagan said the Lions’ capacity to score had been strong this year and when they were at their best ability around clearances and contested balls have been strong and would need to be again.

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© AAP

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