After a season to remember for Lachie Neale, will the Brisbane ball magnet rack them up yet again when Richmond come to town on Saturday night?

‘Momentum’ is the ultimate pre-finals buzzword. Which side has it? Which side has lost it? And which sides needs to rediscover it? But if we’re talking individual player momentum, Lachie Neale arguably has it more than any player in the AFL. After accumulating an incredible 51 disposals in the final game of the home-and-away season against Richmond, Neale became just the eighth player to ‘raise the bat’, appropriately at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Crunching the numbers

Neale, quite simply, has had a brilliant first season at the Lions after arriving from Freo in the off-season. The in-and-under midfielder has averaged 31.3 touches a game, and his total of 688 is the most ever by a Brisbane player (surpassing Simon Black’s 634 in 2003). In 15 of the 23 rounds this season he has finished with 28 disposals or more, highlighting his consistency around the contest. Neale is at $5 with Palmerbet to rack up the most disposals throughout the finals series.

Happy hunting ground

It also turns out that Neale’s 51-disposals effort against Richmond in Round 23 wasn’t an anomaly. In fact the midfielder has accumulated 35+ disposals in three of his last four games against the Tigers. It was clear at the MCG a fortnight ago that Damien Hardwick was happy to let Neale do his thing in the middle, without a tag. But will he be so accommodating on Saturday night? Some believe they still shouldn’t put a man directly on him, which is music to the ears of punters backing him in the disposals markets.

Brownlow medalist in waiting?

Three 40+ disposal efforts in the opening four rounds launched Neale into Brownlow contention. And he has remained amongst the favourites throughout the season. Also, the final round effort against Richmond, which is sure to gain him three votes, saw him into a $4.50 second-favourite with Palmerbet, where he remains.