The West

Fremantle midfielder Lachie Neale's best-afield effort yesterday was a win for work ethic, according to his coach Ross Lyon.

The 20-year-old South Australian became the youngest player to win the Ross Glendinning Medal after starring with 32 disposals and kicking the Dockers' final goal in their 19-point win.

With Nat Fyfe being heavily tagged after quarter time and Michael Barlow playing his first game back after a knee injury, Neale stepped up to capitalise on the work of ruckman Aaron Sandilands and give the Dockers the advantage in the midfield battle.

He was awarded the maximum three votes from all three judges. Sandilands was the next best with four.

Neale was quick to play down his efforts after the game, saying it was a level of performance he needed to reach more consistently.

"I've been working really hard with our midfield coaches Brett Kirk and Mark Stone so I've got a lot to work on and still a lot to go," he said.

"For me, it's just about putting in consistent effort and performances and today I was lucky enough to get on the end of a couple of touches."

Neale praised the role of the club's senior midfielders in his rapid development in his third season at the club.

"We've got some great midfielders, Nathan Fyfe, David Mundy, Mick Barlow," he said.

"Those guys have been really good for me, especially this year when I've been playing a bit more midfield time.

"They've been really leading well and helping me inside."

Neale is one of four players from the 2011 national draft playing regular senior football at the Dockers, with Cameron Sutcliffe and Hayden Crozier playing yesterday and Tom Sheridan appearing in four of the first seven games this season.

Lyon said all four had thrived on the work required to play at the elite level and were making a good impression just three years into their careers.

"Two of the four were in our grand final team last year and one was first emergency," he said.

"They've displayed great work ethic and character since they've been through and they've contributed since my first year with the club.

"There's been a couple of ups and downs.

"They're only young men maturing on and off the ground, but overall they're full of character and work ethic."

Lyon said Neale's performance yesterday wasn't unexpected, having seen him play as well against Port Adelaide in round 22 last year.

However, he said there was more work to do if the young midfielder wanted more compliments.

"Lachie's next step is he will get tagged and someone will pay tighter attention than he got today," Lyon said.

"We'll start throwing out the bouquets when he's learnt to work through a tag, I reckon."

The West Australian

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