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Brisbane Lions midfielder Mitch Robinson has dismissed a tweet purportedly posted by him as 'fake' amid a trade rumour involving teammate Lachie Neale.
The Lions' season ended in heartbreaking fashion over the weekend with a one-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in the AFL semi-final.
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It was another painful finals exit for the Lions, made worse by news former Brownlow Medal winner and star midfielder Neale was considering a trade request.
Neale, who is contracted for another two seasons, is considering a return to Perth to be closer to his wife's family.
The couple are expecting the arrival of their first child together in October.
The 28-year-old played 135 games for Fremantle before switching to Brisbane in 2018, where he elevated his game and took him the AFL's highest individual honour.
While the Lions are expected to make a statement about Neale's future early this week, teammate Robinson has already had to tamp down speculation after a fake post was circulated in which he took aim at his teammate's rumoured desire to leave.
Robinson posted "It's fake" on Sunday night in response to the fake post, which was clearly made by editing Robinson's username onto a different message.
Lions football manager Danny Daly said the club was still attempting to talk with Neale, after news broke on Sunday night of his expected trade request.
"I think the club will come out and make a statement sometime this afternoon once we've had a chance to speak to Lachie and work through it," Daly told Radio TAB on Monday.
"It's all news to us. As far as we're concerned, he's got two years of his contract left and that's where it is at."
— Mitch Robinson (@MitchRobinson05) September 5, 2021
Brisbane Lions pipped by Bulldogs in thrilling AFL semi-final
A rushed behind inside the final minute was the difference as the Western Bulldogs won a thrilling AFL semi-final against Brisbane at the Gabba.
Laitham Vandermeer urged the ball through to ensure the 11.13 (79) to 11.12 (78) result, icing a match that see-sawed until the final moments.
Final quarter hero Bailey Smith's calm left-footer from an angle with two minutes to play put the Dogs ahead by six, the goal coming after Lincoln McCarthy had an attacking free kick reversed.
Brisbane rallied though, Zac Bailey running into an open goal to level the scores again with 74 seconds to play.
Another free kick at the centre bounce helped the ball forward for the Bulldogs in what proved the decisive clearance between two sides that had been separated by half a percentage point at the end of the regular season.
"We just felt someone was going to be fortunate enough to be in front at the end of the whole thing and fortunately it was us," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.
"It was a bit of a crazy game, the madness of the whole situation ... there were times in the last quarter I was trying to remember the detail of what happens when it's a draw.
"Sometimes this game is really cruel and sometimes it's beautiful and we were lucky to feel the emotions of the latter."
The Bulldogs will now play Port Adelaide in a preliminary final while it is a third-straight finals exit and second straight-sets departure for Brisbane without a grand final appearance.
A "flat" Lions coach Chris Fagan didn't bite when asked about a lopsided 28-19 penalty count and was optimistic despite another finals near-miss.
"It's fair to say the tape will show that we left a few scoring opportunities out there," he said.
"All these things in the end help you once you learn to take the lessons from the result."
Bulldog Marcus Bontempelli (29 touches) went off late in the final term with a knee complaint that will need closer inspection, but Caleb Daniel (31 disposals) and Jack Macrae (38) ensured it was no one-man job for the visitors.
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