He’s a rising star of the AFL who has played every game this season, so why was Fremantle midfielder Lachie Neale not rested for Saturday’s away clash with Port Adelaide?
“Mum probably wouldn’t be too happy if I didn’t make the trip to Adelaide,” joked Neale, who hails from South Australia.
“I had a couple of discussions through the week with the coaching staff and we just decided that for me, playing through and continuing my footy was the best way to go.”
The Dockers made 11 changes to the team that dismantled Melbourne last week.
Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy, Stephen Hill, Michael Johnson, Chris Mayne, Lee Spurr, Danyle Pearce, and Luke McPharlin were all rested, while Cameron Sutcliffe (shoulder) and Jon Griffin (hamstring) were ruled out through injury.
Fellow stars Nat Fyfe (leg), Hayden Ballantyne (pectoral), and Michael Walters (calf) couldn’t be considered, meaning Fremantle will enter Saturday’s match missing 14 of their best 22.
Connor Blakely, Brady Grey, and Ethan Hughes will make their AFL debuts, while fringe players Jack Hannath, Tanner Smith, Max Duffy, Ed Langdon, and Lachie Weller will be given a rare opportunity to play.
The Dockers slumped to an ugly 71-point loss to St Kilda when Fremantle coach Ross Lyon bulk rested players for the final round of the 2013 season.
Neale said a similar result this week would be simply unacceptable.
“That was a really disappointing day for us as a footy club and we put in quite an embarrassing performance, so we’ll be looking to rectify that this week,” Neale said.
Neale is in All-Australian contention this year after producing a season in which he has averaged almost 28 disposals per game.
The 22-year-old has also showcased his attacking prowess with 14 goals.