Brisbane Lions star midfielder Lachie Neale has been crowned the 2020 Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year.
Neale led the way for the Lions as they secured a top two finish at the completion of the home and away season for the second year in a row.
The 2019 Merrett-Murray medallist was once again the model of consistency, playing every game in 2020 and producing big numbers around the ground.
His prolific ball winning form saw him lead the AFL in total disposals and ground ball gets and rank top five in centre clearances, contested possessions and score involvements.
In six games this season Neale polled the perfect ten coaches votes to finish with 93 votes. A sizzling season and the perfect ten in Round 18 landed Melbourne dynamo Christian Petracca in second place on 78 votes, one vote ahead of Port Adelaide star Travis Boak, who polled 77 votes to finish in third place.
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.’’
Neale was honoured to be recognized by the coaches as the 2020 Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year.
“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.
AFL Coaches Association CEO Mark Brayshaw congratulated Neale on an outstanding year.
“What a credit to Lachie that his sensational 2020 performances have seen him crowned the coaches best, he should be honoured to win this Award,” Brayshaw said.
“The coaches have a unique perspective on what succeeds in each of the games and take care in allocating their votes, which we believe makes the Coaches Champion Player Award the most prestigious of all the individual Awards in the AFL.”
The Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Association’s AFL Champion Player Award is an award voted by the 18 coaching panels on a 5,4,3,2,1 basis after each home and away game, acknowledging outstanding effort by an individual player in a season.
Previous winners list: www.aflcoaches.com.au/awards/the-aflca-champion-player-of-the-year-award