CHRIS Fagan described Port Adelaide’s harassment of Lachie Neale as “a bit over the top” when the cameras were rolling post-match.
That was a tame assessment of the treatment when compared with some private, away-from-cameras observations made by the Brisbane coach and other Lions officials.
‘HE GOT POUNDED’ Fagan says treatment of star midfielder was ‘over the top’
The Lions were bemused and agitated with every aspect of the Port attack on their star midfielder, from words in the lead-in to the game, to Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley’s pre-match interview with Fox Footy where he said Neale would be “terrorised” to the physical four-quarter smashing inflicted by Cam Sutcliffe, Tom Rockliff, Dougal Howard and others.
Tempers flared early in the first quarter of #AFLPowerLions.
Plenty of feeling in this one. pic.twitter.com/4K2i1mr1TX
— AFL (@AFL) July 14, 2019
Brisbane officials declined to elaborate on the matter when contacted Monday.
Neale’s 24 disposals against Port was down by eight on his 2019 average. He still managed 10 clearances despite suffering deliberately inflicted beltings, scratches, bruises and an eye poke.
THE RUN HOME Where will your club finish?
Much of the physicality directed his way came from personal friend Sutcliffe, who made his Port debut against Brisbane after spending seven seasons as a teammate of Neale’s at Fremantle.
Brisbane officials felt the over-the-top targeting of Neale, among the favourites for the Brownlow Medal, sent a poor message and had the potential to spark an all-in brawl.
They were proud of their players’ ability to support Neale within the rules and more so by the team’s ability to kick the game’s first seven goals, which effectively ended the contest before quarter time and kept alive the dream of finishing in second place on the ladder and thus earning a home qualifying final.
No hard feelings here 😬
— AFL (@AFL) July 15, 2019
Port’s targeting of Neale was not the first time it had a team focus on an individual opponent this season, having also harassed Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn in round one.