Straight-sets exit to spur Neale to greater heights
Star midfielder Lachie Neale says he's determined to take his game to the next level as Brisbane set about laying the foundations for finals success in 2020.
Not willing to rest on his laurels after a breakout year that saw him claim the Lions' best-and-fairest along with 21 Brownlow votes and an All-Australian guernsey, Neale has already been spotted doing extras at training with agility and foot speed major priorities.
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"Over the pre-season I'll work a fair bit on my footwork and explosiveness out of stoppages and at groundballs and whatnot," Neale said.
"We probably went to ground a little too much last year so I'll work on that and a couple of other little things to try and open my game.
"(It's) just a couple of one and two per centers and trying to work out the best way of doing that."
Neale's attitude is reflective of the entire squad with Lions skipper Dayne Zorko praising the off-season efforts of his teammates as well as Brisbane's incoming draftees.
"They've come back in really good shape, from what I've seen over the past few weeks some really encouraging signs and the boys are just getting ready to rip in," Zorko said.
"Our recruiters did a fantastic job with the kids they've brought in as well as the additions of Callum Ah-Chee, Grant Birchall and Cam Elli-Yoleman.
"The club over the past few years has done a fantastic job in that department and the kids we've brought in this year are going to be no exception - they all seem to be fine young men and we're really looking forward to their arrival."
Both Zorko and Neale shared their desire to improve on last season's straight-sets finals exit with Brisbane still yet to break a September win drought dating back to 2009.
"We put ourselves in a great position last year and weren't able to finish the job, so the work we'll put in to try and get better over the summer could be the difference in the end whether we win a final or not and hopefully go a couple further," Neale said.
"The greatest thing we've got is there's still a lot of youth in our group and a lot of improvement," Zorko added.
"We had a lot of games last year that we may have played well … but defensively we still leaked a few points so that's something we'll certainly look at over the pre-season."