G’day guys and gals, as the SuperCoach season approaches the half way mark its time for another Player Radar article.
The last five weeks have been super impressive from this young Fremantle player, particularly given the poor season that Fremantle have had this year.
In this article I will therefore be asking whether Lachie Neale is the real-deal and whether he deserves a spot in your midfield.
Player: Lachie Neale
Team: Fremantle Dockers
Age: 23 years and 0 months
2016 Avg: 116.9
3 Week Average: 134.7
5 Week Average: 130.2
How a player averaging 116.9 is only owned in 4% of teams is quite amazing.
Without the reigning Brownlow Medalist, Nathan Fyfe, and with the injury to David Mundy, Neale has been thrust into the Fremantle midfield and has performed extremely well. So much so that this season, Neale he has not fallen under 25 disposals once – a truly amazing sign of his consistency.
Neale currently leads the AFL for disposals and effective disposals, and ranks second for total clearances and contested possessions in the competition – all of which contributes to his amazing scores so far this year.
Neale has posted ten 100s this season out of a possible 11 games, with his one poorer score being a solid 92 points in Fremantle’s shock loss to Gold Coast. This record is even more impressive considering the Dockers’ dismal season to date.
Neale can have a tendency to be a little over reliant on the handball with a kick to handball ratio of 1:1.5. So far this season though Neale’s contested ball and clearance numbers, 16 contested possessions and seven clearances per game, has rendered this handball happy mentality irrelevant to his overall scoring output.
Neale may very well be tested on the weekend, with the distinct possibility that Mitch Robinson could play a tagging role on Fremantle’s most important, and at this time, most damaging midfielder.
Robinson kept Gibbs to a meagre 12 disposals and only 42 SuperCoach points last weekend and therefore, it might be worth waiting a week in the event that Robinson gets ahold of Neale.
Nonetheless, even if Neale does have a poor week this week, you should definitely still be looking to get him in your team.
Verdict: Neale has proven himself to be a consistent ball-winner and point scorer in 2016. If his remarkable output continues, he is a midfield must-have and perhaps in the long term, a starter selection for future years.