Lions star Neale considering AFL trade

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Lachie Neale is yet to officially request move away from Brisbane but his potential blockbuster return to Fremantle looms over the upcoming AFL trade period.

Neale, who is contracted for another two seasons, is considering a return to Perth to be closer to his wife Jules' family, with the couple expecting their first child in October.

Brisbane chief executive Greg Swann, football manager Danny Daly and coach Chris Fagan met with Neale on Monday but the Lions are no closer to a definitive answer on the star midfielder's future.

"(Neale) has confirmed the couple are weighing up where they would like to raise their family," the Lions said in a statement.

"He did not request a trade but has asked for some time to have further discussions with his wife and family."

Given West Coast's tight salary cap, a return to Fremantle would be the only realistic way for Neale to get to Perth.

Neale, 28, played 135 games for the Dockers before seeking out the Lions for a fresh start at the end of 2018.

Brisbane gave up two first-round draft picks for Neale, who has helped catapult them into premiership contention.

In three seasons with the Lions, Neale has won two best-and-fairest awards, been named an All Australian twice and last year collected the league's highest individual honour when he finished 10 votes clear of Port Adelaide's Travis Boak in the Brownlow Medal count.

If the 28-year-old does exit, it would be a hammer blow to the Lions who are reeling after one of the most devastating defeats in their history.

Brisbane crashed out of the finals in straight-sets for the second time in three seasons when they lost a one-point thriller against the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba on Saturday night.

This year, Neale was down on his stellar form of 2019 and 2020 due to a number of injuries, including back, ankle and shoulder issues, but did manage to break the all-time record for possessions in a finals game.

In the Lions' qualifying final loss to Melbourne two weeks ago, he tallied 46 disposals to smash the previous mark of 43 set by former Collingwood champion Dane Swan in 2011.

The Lions managed to win all seven games Neale missed due to injury and illness this year, including thumping victories over finalists Port Adelaide and GWS.

A Neale homecoming would more than make up for Fremantle's impending loss of young midfielder Adam Cerra, who has already requested a trade back to Victoria.

Draft capital gained in the Cerra trade would likely be required to secure Neale.

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