'Naive': AFL reporters in fiery debate over Lachie Neale request

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Tony Jones and Caroline Wilson clashed during a brief promotional spot for Footy Classified on Monday night, arguing over the merits of Lachie Neale's trade request from Brisbane. Pictures: Channel 9
Tony Jones and Caroline Wilson clashed during a brief promotional spot for Footy Classified on Monday night, arguing over the merits of Lachie Neale's trade request from Brisbane. Pictures: Channel 9

Veteran AFL reporters Caroline Wilson and Tony Jones have clashed on air while discussing a potential trade request from Brisbane Lions ace Lachie Neale.

Soon after Brisbane's brutal semi-final loss to the Western Bulldogs, it was reported Neale was considering requesting a trade from Brisbane back to Fremantle.

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Neale is believed to have sought a trade back to the Dockers as he and his wife Julie, who is from WA, look to start a family.

Brisbane recruited Neale from the Dockers in 2018, with the star midfielder signing a five-year contract to stay with the Lions back in 2019.

With two years left on his deal and the wounds still fresh from the one-point loss to the Bulldogs last weekend, Wilson said the timing of Neale's request was 'pretty ordinary' prior to Monday night's Footy Classified.

The Lions stressed on Monday that Neale hadn't officially requested a move, but had asked for “some time to have further discussions with his wife and family."

"This will be terrible for Brisbane and I think Lachie Neale’s timing, quite frankly, is pretty ordinary to a club that just went through what it went through on Saturday night," Wilson said. 

"He’s signed up for five years, no one’s asking he and Jules to raise their family in Brisbane. 

"They’re asking him to see out his contract, which has got two more years to run."

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Jones though, disagreed, arguing Wilson's position lacked compassion.

He said footy was not the 'be all and end all' and said it should be family first - to which Wilson replied 'We’re not asking him to live in Timbuktu, Tony'.

"I’m not asking him to desert his family, Tony. I’m asking him to stay in Brisbane and see out his contract," Wilson retorted.

The conversation descended into a back and forth, with Jones continuing to argue for a more compassionate stance while Wilson accused him of being naive.

To end the conversation, Wilson said it was a poor look to want out of a long term agreement so early.

"I’m compassionate towards the Brisbane Lions and those players and what they did to get Lachie Neale over there," she said. 

"Three years into a deal, that is not how I would like someone to do business."

Lions can overcome Neale AFL trade: Zorko

Brisbane Lions captain Dayne Zorko believes they are resilient enough to overcome the potential loss of Neale.

The Lions managed to win all seven games Neale missed due to injury and illness this year, including thumping victories over finalists Port Adelaide and GWS.

The reigning Brownlow medallist's three seasons at Brisbane have been nothing short of brilliant, but Zorko says the Lions are strong enough to remain in premiership contention if Neale does depart.

Lachie Neale is reportedly considering a trade request away from Brisbane so he and his wife can start a family in WA. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)
Lachie Neale is reportedly considering a trade request away from Brisbane so he and his wife can start a family in WA. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

"It would be extremely disappointing (if Neale left)," Zorko told the Seven Network.

"But I think we've seen at times this year the resilience in our group; when someone's gone out of the team we've been able to fill that void.

"We've got a great young crop of players coming through, that Lachie's certainly helped develop, which is really important for us and we've called on them plenty of times.

"If a trade does happen, then I'm sure we'll get something great in return and our younger guys would get an opportunity."

"Finishing in the top four three years in a row is a massive achievement and he's been a massive part of that."

Neale met with Brisbane coach Chris Fagan, club chief executive Greg Swann and football manager Danny Daly on Monday, but the Lions are no closer to knowing what his plans are.

With AAP

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