Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has revealed he’s spoken to the AFL in the wake of Geelong’s treatment of Lachie Neale.
Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan has revealed he’s spoken to the AFL about unfair treatment of star midfielders in the wake of the Geelong Cats’ approach to Lachie Neale last Friday.
Mark O’Connor limited the reigning Brownlow medallist to just three first-half touches and 16 for the night, in a tagging performance helped by the entire team’s efforts to rough him up at any opportunity.
Their tactics drew the ire of Match Review Officer Michael Christian when he slapped Rohan with a two-match ban for striking Neale off the ball.
Fagan said the AFL needed to closely monitor how teams attacked key midfielders.
“I have spoken to people at the AFL just to have a little look at it,” Fagan told SEN.
“It wasn’t a major complaint at all, more on behalf of all midfielders who happen to get tagged.
“I don’t think anyone minds if it’s just a fair dinkum contest, but blocks and holds off the ball – that’s a different matter.”
Neale developed into a prolific ball-winner in his seven years at Fremantle and has become even more dominant at Brisbane, averaging 28.7 disposals per game since joining the Lions ahead of season 2019.
The South Australian polled 31 Brownlow Medal votes last year to beat the second-placed Travis Boak by 10.
“Lachie Neale got tagged I reckon in half the games he played last year. Some days he came out on top, some days he didn’t. He’s accustomed to that sort of attention,” Fagan said.
“My personal view is that by and large he deals with it well. He probably didn’t in the first half last week. I thought his second half was much, much better.
“The umpires are looking closely at forwards v backs and those contests at the moment. They need to look closely at the contests around stoppages, to see whether players are getting a fair run at the ball.
“Because my understanding of the rule is if people grab you or block you when you’re a certain distance away from the ball, that’s not legal – and there was a bit of that the other night.
“O’Connor did a terrific job by and large, but I just think that needs to be looked at a little more closely by the umpires.”
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