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Brisbane Lions captain Dayne Zorko believes they are resilient enough to overcome the potential loss of AFL star Lachie Neale.
The Lions were rocked after learning Neale was considering a trade back to Fremantle, with the news coming some 24 hours after their heartbreaking one-point semi-final loss to the Western Bulldogs.
Neale played 135 games for the Dockers before seeking out the Lions for a fresh start at the end of 2018.
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.
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.
"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.
The 28-year-old, who is contracted for another two seasons, is considering a return to Perth to be closer to his wife Jules' family, with the couple expecting their first child in October.
Neale did not request a trade during the meeting but the Lions agreed to give him more time to consider his future.
A Neale homecoming would more than make up for Fremantle's impending loss of young midfielder Adam Cerra, who has already requested a trade back to Victoria.