Neale blown away by Lions’ finals surge
The plan is coming together for Lachie Neale - and quicker than he imagined too.
Brisbane will play finals in Neale's first year at the club and with a two-win buffer between the fifth-placed Giants and three Gabba games ahead of them, are a genuine chance of a top four finish and a home final.
Neale wasn't even alive when The A Team was a massive 80s TV hit but he would appreciate the favourite saying of the crime fighting team's leader Hannibal Smith, who signed off most cases with the line "I love it when a plan comes together.''
The gun midfielder said Brisbane's potential was the major reason he decided to leave the Dockers and head across the country but has been surprised how quickly that had resulted in a climb up the ladder.
"To be honest I didn't think we would be sitting in this position with four games to go,'' he said.
"I certainly saw a lot of signs the club was in a good position and I thought we could play finals, and to be honest I wouldn't have come if I didn't think that this year or next year we would be there.
"But it has been a very rapid rise, I didn't think we'd be quite where we are.''
After their 27 point win over Hawthorn the players and staff finally allowed themselves to celebrate that what had been a dream of returning to the finals was now a reality.
For Neale, who has made it all the way to the MCG on the last Saturday in September with Fremantle but has yet to taste the ultimate success, the manner in which the Lions have qualified has been the most exciting thing.
The Lions have become road warriors, claiming four consecutive interstate wins since their shock loss to Carlton before the bye.
"That's what you play footy for to be involved in September and it is nice to know that we will now be doing that,'' he said.
"It will be great for the club.
"It has been the way we have gone about it, we have we have played four road trips and have been underdogs in all of them and have been able come away with the points.
"Good teams win on the road.''
Brisbane were outplayed by Hawthorn in the first half but managed to head into the sheds with a slight lead - aided by the Hawks' poor goal kicking.
But the tide turned in the third quarter and with a four goal blitz the game was ripped from the Hawks' grasp.
"We are finding ways to stick in games even when we are not at our best and we have this confidence with our game style that if we stick to it, and keep hammering in our process, games can swing really quickly for us,'' he said.
"I think in the AFL now every team gets their time in the sun within games, even if it is for just ten or 15 minutes and you have to be able to make the most of that and I feel the way we going at the moment we can score quickly.''