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Lachie Neale and wife Jules go public with personal struggle on eve of AFL season

The Brisbane Lions co-captain has spoken out about the situation.

Lachie Neale and wife Jules have spoken publicly for the first time about their struggle to conceive daughter Piper. The Brisbane Lions co-captain, who won a second Brownlow Medal last year but fell agonisingly short of winning the AFL flag, has opened up about his family life on the eve of the 2024 season.

Speaking to the Courier Mail last weekend, Lachie and Jules explained their personal struggle to conceive Poppy before finally falling pregnant in 2021. “There’s so many in the same position, but no one really talks about it much,” Jules said while speaking publicly about the situation for the first time.

Lachie Neale and wife Jules.
Lachie Neale and wife Jules have opened up on the eve of the 2024 AFL season. Image: Getty

“I talk about it now because we’re out of it, but it was really hard in the moment. When you’re going through it, it’s all you can think about. It consumes you. Changes your behaviour. Talking now feels easier, because [Piper] is here, and it’s less scary.

“We tried for two-and-a-half years. If we got to three and I hadn’t fallen pregnant, we said we’d do IVF. I was on heavy medication, having regular scans, blood tests, trigger hormone shots – everything you do before IVF. There were surgeries for my endometriosis and a lot in the lead up to figure out what was wrong."

Jules revealed how her husband remained positive throughout the whole situation when she'd nearly given up. They finally found out they were pregnant and gave birth to Poppy in September 2021, three years after they were married.

Neale said: “Family means the world to me, not just Jules and Piper, but our parents and siblings. We are all very close, and we’re so lucky to have found an amazing friendship group. Being able to balance my lifestyle can be tricky, but I make every effort to ensure our family time is uninterrupted. We don’t let anything distract us from that time together.”

Lachie Neale and daughter Piper, pictured here during the AFL grand final parade in 2023.
Lachie Neale and daughter Piper during the AFL grand final parade in 2023. (Getty Images)

Lachie Neale would happily trade Brownlows for AFL premiership

Neale has the chance to join an elite group of AFL players by winning a third Brownlow Medal in 2024, but the 30-year-old is more desperate to taste premiership glory for the first time. Neale was left heartbroken and was seen in tears alongside Jules after the Lions went down to Collingwood by just four points in last year's grand final.

Lachie Neale and wife Jules, pictured here after the AFL grand final in 2023.
Lachie Neale and wife Jules after the Lions' loss in the 2023 grand final. (via Getty Images)

In winning his second Brownlow amid controversy last year, the Brisbane co-captain put himself on the verge of becoming just the fifth player - after Haydn Bunton (Fitzroy), Dick Reynolds (Essendon), Bob Skilton (South Melbourne) and Ian Stewart (St Kilda and Richmond) - to win it three times. But speaking to the media over the weekend, he said he'd happily trade his individual accolades for a premiership flag.

"The only thing on my mind is a premiership," he told reporters on Sunday. "(Individual awards) don't really play on my mind at this time of year. I don't think I'll be getting a third (Brownlow). Two's enough, I reckon. Just a premiership medallion will be enough for me."

Lachie and Jules Neale, pictured here at the Brownlow Medal ceremony in 2023.
Lachie and Jules Neale at the Brownlow Medal ceremony in 2023. (via Getty Images)

Neale has now played in two grand finals - for Fremantle in 2013 and Brisbane in 2023 - but lost both. The 246-game veteran could have already been a three-time Brownlow winner if not for Patrick Cripps' controversial victory in 2022 after he avoided a late-season suspension and narrowly pipped Neale for the gong.

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The pair will lock horns when the Lions take on the Blues in the opening round, and Neale is raring to go after missing two pre-season game after undergoing groin surgery in the summer. He returned in a 25-point win over Sydney last week.

"It was pretty hot there but the body feels good," Neale said. "I've put in a fair bit of work over the last few months to get right and I recovered really well. I didn't have a massive percentage of game time but got the minutes that I needed and I'm really confident in my preparation for this week."

with AAP

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