Neale 'not 100 per cent' but will play on

·2-min read

Brisbane's Brownlow Medal winner Lachie Neale admits a nagging back injury is limiting him this AFL season but that it should "get better quickly" and is no excuse for the Lions' slow start.

Neale has been a dominant force since his switch from Fremantle three seasons ago, helping the Lions to back-to-back second place regular season finishes.

But a 1-3 start in 2021 is symbolic of his dip in form this season and the midfielder admits managing the mystery injury has been frustrating.

He said earlier this month that scans on his back revealed "not a great result" but he would continue to play through the injury, with Brisbane at home on Saturday against Essendon.

"Percentage wise, I don't know, it's hard to put an exact percentage on it ... not 100 per cent but good enough to play," he said on Tuesday when asked to assess his health.

"The thing that's affecting me the most is my ability to train consistently, so that's the most frustrating part.

"But I'm able to play and it's not getting worse ... it should get better pretty quickly."

He said that revealing the injury hadn't led to any extra attention from rivals who traditionally target the ball magnet.

"Not compared to previous seasons; I'm not playing my best footy at the moment but feel I'm getting towards that," he said.

Neale said Brisbane's mixed month left plenty of room for improvement but that it wasn't panic stations despite them only losing three home-and-away games in total last season.

"We're going OK; not at our absolute best, lacked a bit of polish and the Bulldogs ... put us to the sword (on Saturday)," he said.

"Do we have to win this weekend (to make the top four)? No we don't, but it'll make our job a lot harder if we don't.

"This season ... did you predict Sydney to be 4-0 and Richmond 2-2?

"I don't think anyone's writing them (the Tigers) off and we're one win away, so people are really quick to write teams off at his stage of the season."