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Lachie Neale's father has said the circus surrounding his son's potential trade request away from Brisbane is 'bordering on horrific' in an illuminating radio interview.
Robbie Neale was interviewed by the ABC in South Australia that paparazzi have been camped outside their Brisbane home since word of their plans leaked.
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He added the reaction to the the pair's consideration of where they wanted to start a family had been completely overblown, with the Lions confirming on Monday that Neale had not actually requested a trade.
Instead, the club met with Neale on Monday, confirming at at this stage, their star midfielder and his wife Julie were merely “weighing up where they would like to raise their family”.
Neale has been heavily criticised by several prominent AFL figures since the reports emerged over the weekend, with Robbie arguing most of the criticism has been over the top.
“They need a bit of support. It’s been bordering on horrific,” he said.
“They’ve got paparazzi following them around and camped outside the house. This is not how it should have been.
"It should have been a nice quiet conversation with Brisbane and then through his management group to make the right decision and if a request was to come, fair enough, then it becomes a headline.
"It’s far from that at this stage.”
The likes of veteran reporters Caroline Wilson and Damian Barrett, as well as former AFL coach Rodney Eade, all were critical of Neale to various degrees in the wake of the report.
.@Sammy__Edmund earlier: "Fremantle CEO Simon Garlick described Lachie Neale as an 'exciting prospect' but warned the club would look at it objectively.
"Not all the advice Neale is receiving is about a return west. Some in his camp believe he should stay and see out the deal."
— Garry and Tim (@SENBreakfast) September 7, 2021
Former Brisbane Lions premiership coach Leigh Matthews also said it was somewhat poor form on Neale's behalf.
Robbie maintained it was far too early to draw any conclusions.
“It hasn’t really reached that stage. He hasn’t requested a trade,” he said.
“The disappointing thing for us is it sort of hit the media and it’s sort of gone into meltdown the last couple of days.
“Certain sections of the footy media have had strong opinions about it. But they’re five steps ahead of reality. The reality is, it was purely a discussion that was had internally.”
AFL reporters in fiery debate over Lachie Neale reports
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.
"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."
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."
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