Wallaby Lachie Swinton vows red card on debut ‘won’t change the way I play’


In the 23rd minute, the real drama began. All Blacks prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi got a tackle on Tom Wright wrong and was shown a red card.

Just like Perth last year, Australia had an early advantage and didn’t want to let it slip.

“We knew the opportunities would open up naturally through us having extra numbers,” Swinton said. “I just happened to even it out.”

Even it out it did, as Swinton was also given his marching orders in the 35th minute when he connected high on Sam Whitelock in similar fashion.

Lachie Swinton is sent off against the All Blacks last weekend.

Lachie Swinton is sent off against the All Blacks last weekend.Credit:Getty

Despite a subtle protest from Michael Hooper to referee Nic Berry, Swinton trudged off Suncorp Stadium with the scores locked 8-8 and a million thoughts running through his mind. David Codey, Drew Mitchell, Tevita Kuridrani and Sekope Kepu are the only other Wallabys who have been handed a red card.

“Everything goes pretty quick,” Swinton said. “I saw it on the big screen and I knew I could be in trouble judged off the previous call on Ofa [Tu’ungafasi]. I didn’t know what was going to happen but rolled with it.

“I was leaving the team down a player. [I thought] I’d let the team down. I don’t want it to happen again.

“It was tough and is tough for anyone having to watch your boys go to work without you. Full credit to the lads, they were chucked a curveball and adapted. By the end I was just stoked to be watching a great performance from my boys.”

Swinton gets his marching orders.

Swinton gets his marching orders.Credit:Getty

Australia ended up claiming a famous 24-22 win and despite missing out on most of the action, Swinton said he regretted little and wouldn’t change the way he played.

He said the four-week ban, which was reduced from an entry point of six weeks, was fair and that he would work hard to change his tackling technique.

“It definitely won’t change the way I play,” Swinton said. “The only thing that will change is me going back and learning from it and working on my tackle technique. The reason why I’ve been able to do what I have in my career is because of the way I play, so I won’t change my intent around the park.

“Considering all the mitigating factors, it was the right decision in the end.”

Swinton said he agreed with Dave Rennie’s view that World Rugby could consider a replacement player after 20 minutes if someone is red carded in order to ensure the contest remains fair.

“I like the sound of that,” Swinton said. “Sometimes people can be like, ‘Oh, they had 14 men on the field, that’s why they won’. We obviously want the contest to be as fair as possible.”

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The 23-year-old certainly showed he belonged at Test level and won’t get another chance until next July when Australia face France, but is thankful to have got his first taste of international rugby.

“It’s been such an unreal experience and I definitely want more,” Swinton said. “I’m just rolling with the punches. My focus is now on the team and trying to prepare them as best as possible and furthering my development. I’ve just got to move on.”

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Lachie Swinton handed four week ban for red card tackle on Sam Whitelock


SANZAAR have now ensured Swinton will not pull the gold jersey on again this season.

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He will miss the remaining two Tests of the year against Argentina and will also be unavailable for the first two Waratahs matches next season.

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from his legal representative, Maryjane Crabtree, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.13,” Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Adam Casselden SC said.

The review committee deemed the tackle worthy of a six week suspension but peeled two weeks off the sanction due to the early guilty plea.

Swinton was not afforded the full 50 per cent penalty reduction which usually comes with an early guilty plea due to two prior offences at Super Rugby level.

Tu’ungafasi will face the review committee tomorrow evening.



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Bledisloe Cup news: Lachie Swinton suspension, Wallabies vs Argentina, red card, tackle, Wallabies, Tri Nations


Lachie Swinton showed his potential as one of the most promising young loose forwards the Wallabies have at their disposal on Saturday night.

But his aggressive approach has backfired and seen him rubbed out of the next four games.

Swinton was handed a red card in the 35th minute of the Bledisloe Cup game four with the All Blacks for leading with the shoulder and connecting with the head of Sam Whitelock.

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RED card stings All Blacks!

RED card stings All Blacks!

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AFL 2020: Lachie Hunter drink driving sentence, court case, Western Bulldogs, ‘I sh*t myself’, excuse to cops


A former Western Bulldogs vice-captain was drinking UDLs the night he collided with four parked cars, his lawyer has told a court.

Lachie Hunter pleaded guilty in Melbourne Magistrates Court to drink driving, careless driving, and failing to give his name and address when property had been damaged.

He was sentenced to a $1000 fine and a 12-month licence disqualification without a conviction recorded, after magistrate Michelle Hodgson said he had experienced “significant” sanctions from the Western Bulldogs including a $5000 fine and a four-game suspension.

Lachie Hunter celebrates kicking a goal during the round 12 AFL match against the Adelaide Crows on August 16. Photo: Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
Grand Final

Mr Hunter was also fined on the night for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.



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AFL trade news, rumours, whispers 2020: Trade blog, October 27, latest news, Jye Caldwell, Essendon, Lachie Young, Bulldogs


Essendon will need to work out other deals before luring a prized young midfielder to the club.

Plus why the Western Bulldogs are set to lose a young defender for free.

Follow all of today’s free agency and exchange news in Foxfooty.com.au’s AFL Trade Blog!

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Grand Final

Why Dunkley wants Dons

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Geelong Cats’ Lachie Henderson making most of his chances


Vonnie, Ian and Lachie Henderson. 

In the short-term Lachie thought about putting his Torquay house on the market and was going to go travelling.

But in late November, Cats ruckman Ryan Abbott joined St Kilda, opening up a spot on Geelong’s list. The Cats used it to re-recruit Henderson as a rookie and extend his football career.

Was that a surprise to Lachie’s father?

“Oh not really,” Ian said. “It was always sort of there possibly. I was hopeful, it wasn’t deadset but it was always a chance.

“Maybe he looked a bit prone to injury and it was nice to see him come back. I always thought he still had it. Maybe there’s a bit more left? Dunno, we will see.”

It was a surprise to many others, though. The brilliant way Lachie has performed in Geelong’s three finals in 2020 has also been a surprise to many.

The 30-year-old had only played seven and six games in 2018 and 2019 respectively, and looked unlikely to be a part of Geelong’s next grand final side, let alone best 22.

Lachie got his first chance to play in 2020 in round eight against Fremantle, and has improved as the stakes rose and the grand final approached.

“We are just so happy he gets to play in at least one grand final,” Ian said of his son’s career, having begun at Brisbane in 2008 before playing at Carlton from 2010 to 2015.

“I hope he plays as well as he has been, which I am sure he will. I think he probably will get Jack [Riewoldt], although they’re a bit of a combined back line.

“They’ve had a good go together over the years those two.”

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan famously labelled Lachie “undisciplined” when he announced he wanted to leave Carlton before the 2015 season had ended.

Lachie’s mum Vonnie then rang up Melbourne radio station 3AW to defend her son, saying McLachlan was “utterly out of line”.

“She’s a very protective mother,” Ian said.

Ian and Vonnie live in Birregurra, where McLachlan has a farm. McLachlan left a voicemail for Vonnie to smooth things over a week later when the AFL chief executive ran into Lachie by chance.

“I haven’t seen Gil around Birre,” Ian said. “Certainly, we know Sylvia [McLachlan] pretty well, his mother.

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“Gil and Vonnie had a phone chat, the two of them, and said he owes us a red wine or something like that, some time down the track.”

Many Geelong families will be at the grand final, choosing to quarantine in the Northern Territory on the chance the Cats made the grand final.

The Hendersons weren’t able to do so although Ian reckons he might have jinxed them anyway.

“If I had have gone up for the finals, they would have lost one of them,” he joked.

“They would have bloody well lost and I’d be sitting in Darwin saying ‘well, at least we had a holiday’.

“My thing is; why did he have to get in a grand final in a year like this? Bugger.”

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Lachie Neale named Brisbane Lions Club Champion for 2020


Lachie Neale had added another medal to his 2020 haul after being named the Brisbane Lions Club Champion for the second successive season.

Neale’s latest Merrett-Murray Medal is his second individual honour of the week after winning the Brownlow Medal on Sunday night for the being the AFL’s player of the season.

The star midfielder also won this year’s Leigh Matthews Trophy for being the AFL Players Association’s MVP, and the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player award.

He was also co-winner of the Lions best finals player award with young gun Hugh McCluggage.

Neale was given the Merrett-Murray Medal on Wednesday night at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre by Brisbane Bears legend Roger Merrett, Lions chairman Andrew Wellington and senior coach Chris Fagan.

Fitzroy team of the century captain Kevin Murray was unable to attend the function due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Neale, who averaged 27.5 disposals in the shortened 2020 contests and was the league’s highest possession winner, tallied 305 votes from 19 games.

Fellow midfielder Jarryd Lyons received the Nigel Lappin Trophy for runner up with 269 votes, while McCluggage’s 237 votes earnt him third place and the Alastair Lynch Trophy.

Ruckman Oscar McInerny finish fourth with 212 votes, while captain and four-time winner Dayne Zorko was fifth with 206 votes.

McInerney also won players’ player of the year, and the Shaun Hart Trademark player of the year, while defender Harris Andrew won the Marcus Ashcroft Award for being the most professional player.

Defender Brandon Starcevich was named rookie of the year.

Veteran Allen Christensen also confirmed to the Lions that he would be retiring after 133 games over 11 seasons.

The 29-year-old played 65 games for Geelong reaching the pinnacle with the 2011 premiership in just his second season before joining the Lions where injuries curtailed the later stages of his career.

“Obviously the flag is something I will look back on with great fondness but it happened so long ago and I was so young and at the time I guess I was just thinking about continuously trying to get better and better,’’ Christensen said.

“Now it is all over I can say I’m very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had, I played at two big Clubs and enjoyed some success.



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Former Melbourne Demons staff ‘lament’ call to overlook Lachie Neale


But for Prendergast, Melbourne’s recruiting chief at the time, the call not to select Neale is one of particular lament.

The Demons had two third-round picks (52 and 54) before the Dockers snaffled Neale. At pick 52 they went for medium-sized defender Josh Tynan from Gippsland Power. At pick 53, Hawthorn chose midfielder Alex Woodward. Two selections later Melbourne handed a second AFL life to versatile tall James Sellar, who had been delisted by Adelaide at the end of 2011 following 21 matches for the Crows in five seasons.

Richmond took Matthew Arnott at pick 55, Greater Western Sydney selected big man Tom Downie at pick 56, the Western Bulldogs chose mature-age and eventual premiership player Tory Dickson at 57 before Neale was selected at 58.

Prendergast said on Monday that Sellar hadn’t been a player of interest for the Demons until a few days before the draft, and that he had been keen to draft Neale.

“James Sellar wasn’t on our radar,” Prendergast said on Monday.

Prendergast was quoted at the time suggesting that ex-Crows coach Neil Craig and ex-Adelaide assistant Todd Viney, both working for Melbourne at the time, had both vouched for Sellar, having worked with him at the Crows.

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Contacted on Monday, Neeld said he went back to his notes from a list management meeting just before the draft, suggesting that the consensus amongst the group was that the Dees should take a midfielder and a relatively experienced tall across those third-round selections.

“I’ve written down a summary. ‘We have two picks close together. The general feeling of the group is to draft a young mid and a mature-age key position player with those two picks,'” Neeld said.

While stressing that history was littered with these sorts of stories, Prendergast said the call to draft Sellar over Neale was regrettable. His recollection differs to that of Neeld, with Prendergast saying that several of the Dees’ recruiters would have taken Neale if not for Sellar, regardless of the tall-small mix.

“That’s one we do lament,” Prendergast said.

“If we weren’t picking Sellar, he was the one we definitely would have picked.

“We walked away really impressed with him. He was small without a lot of speed, but he could really play football.

“I think there would have been a lot of recruiting staff that would have liked Lachie Neale. It would have been the size, and it would have been the speed factor.”

Sellar would ultimately play 23 matches for the Dees before being delisted at the end of 2013. Tynan played two AFL games in 2012 before being delisted at the end of the following season. As it turned out, both outlasted Neeld who was sacked midway through his second season in charge.

Prendergast left Melbourne weeks after the 2011 draft to join Carlton. He has since worked for North Melbourne as well but is no longer in the AFL system.

After claiming two best and fairests with the Dockers, Neale was sensationally traded to Brisbane at the end of 2018 where he has only enhanced his reputation as one of the league’s best midfielders.

Former Adelaide recruiter Matt Rendell said on Open Mike last month that Neale was “the one that got away” from the Crows.

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Kybybolite roars as former Tiger Lachie Neale wins Brownlow Medal with Lions


Growing up in the tiny farming town of Kybybolite, near South Australia’s border with Victoria, the young Lachie Neale was “always a little sports-mad boy”.

“He was very young when he pulled on his first pair of boots,” his mum Amanda Taylor said.

“He was certainly kicking the football or bouncing the basketball or bowling the cricket ball around the house and the garden.”

His dad Robbie Neale remembers his son “was never much help in the sheep yard”.

“He’s had a footy in his hand for quite a while.”

Lachie Neale (centre) in action against the Adelaide Crows in June.(AAP: Darren England)

Last night, Neale was honoured with the AFL’s top individual honour, the Brownlow Medal — much to the delight of the Kybybolite community.

The Brisbane Lions midfielder played junior football for the Kybybolite Tigers, winning a premiership in 2004, and about 100 locals watched last night’s count together at the clubrooms.

“I did say, at the end of the count, once Lachie was crowned the Brownlow Medallist, that everyone in the room would remember where they were on October 18 to celebrate that little bit of history,” club president Jamie Tidy said.

A sign next to a gate opening onto a football oval reads "Welcome to Kybybolite Memorial Sports Club, home of the Kyby Tigers"
The Kyby Tigers are hoping Neale’s success can expire them to a long-awaited premiership.(ABC South East SA: Isadora Bogle)

“Our club has had some rough times but that’s up there with some of the more special things that can happen at a little country footy club.

‘They’d all love to have him home’

Ms Taylor said her son was lucky to be in a job he loved, but had worked hard to get there.

“It’s his passion and he’s always wanted to play football in the AFL,” she said.

An older man and woman hugging a young man wearing a suit and tie on a deck
Lachie Neale with stepfather Brett Shepherd and mother Amanda Taylor at last year’s Brisbane Lions best and fairest awards.(Supplied)

She said she was closely watching the Brownlow count, but became less stressed towards the end.

“I was doing the maths around [round] 10 onwards trying to work out, so about round 14–15 I was quietly confident, as long as he polled in one more game.”

Ms Taylor has received messages of support from Kybybolite locals wishing Neale well over the past couple of weeks.

Lachie Neale smiles while holding up his Brownlow Medal
Lachie Neale holds up the coveted Brownlow Medal.(AAP: Darren England)

Mr Tidy said the club had been lucky with its juniors, with five junior colt premierships in a row when Neale was in the team, alongside former AFL footballers Jack Trengove and Alex Forster.

“We’ve got a very long and proud history of good coaches and good juniors,” he said.

He said he hoped Neale’s win would inspire the club to make a little bit more history.

“Unfortunately, it’s been 46 years since our last A-grade [premiership], which I believe is the longest premiership drought in South Australian country football,” he said.



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Julie Neale rejected Lachie Neale, Brownlow Medal, relationship, WAG


Brownlow Medal night belonged to Brisbane Lions midfielder Lachie Neale — but the spotlight soon shifted to his better half.

Neale polled a staggering 31 votes from only 17 games played this season, and in doing so etched his name into the AFL record books.

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He equalled the biggest winning margin in AFL history since the introduction of the 3-2-1 voting system, joining Roy Wright from 1954 after finishing 10 votes clear of Port Adelaide’s Travis Boak.

But it was during his acceptance speech where Neale paid a moving tribute to the woman who has been by his side through it all — his wife Julie.

“My wife Jules, she’s an amazing human being,” Neale said.

“Not many people probably know but she owned a salon in Perth before we decided to move to Brisbane. She had to sell that to come over here and follow my dreams.

“She was doing very well for herself over there but she always puts me ahead of herself when she shouldn’t have to.

“She’s the most selfless person I know and my biggest support, so thank you very much Jules, I love you.”

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Julie was overcome with emotion when in round 16 it became evident Neale couldn’t be caught as the award winner, wiping away tears as she celebrated her man’s awesome achievement.

However, things didn’t exactly get off to a rosy start for the pair as Julie brutally rejected Neale’s advances when they first met.

After being scooped up by Fremantle with pick 58 in the 2011 National Draft, an 18-year-old Neale asked Dockers teammate Matthew Pavlich to introduce the two.

But a then-21-year-old Julie had no interest.

“The first time I met Jules I was 18 and I asked Pav to introduce me to her,” Neale told Perth Now last year.

“He came back and said, ‘She’s not interested in an 18-year-old Harry Styles looking kid’.”

But Neale recovered from that One Direction insult and a few years later, he and Julie reconnected and sparks flew between the pair.

In June 2017, Neale popped the question to his stunning partner with a custom-designed diamond ring, while out for dinner in South Fremantle.

Neale, then 24, shared the news with his Instagram followers with the caption: “One very happy, lucky guy.”

Julie posted on social media: “How bloody lucky am I. @lachieneale you are one in a million. Cannot wait to marry you x.”

The pair tied the knot in 2018 at the end of the AFL season. The nuptials came a matter of weeks after Neale’s trade request had been granted and saw him sent from Fremantle to join the Lions.

The move was a big deal for Neale, but it was an even bigger shift for Julie, who had to sell her well established salon in Perth.

Located in Mosman Park, Studio Luxe Hair was where Julie made her mark after building the business up from scratch. But then love came along and Julie, as Neale said, put him first as the pair moved across the country.

“She’s sort of left everything behind,” Neale told The Age in 2018.

Julie currently works at Mikki Auld Hairdressing in Brisbane, where she’s described in her profile as “our beauty queen, girl next door, classy AF yet so down to earth, angel babe”.

“With a love for lived in colour and balayage, she’s the best in the biz when it comes to blonde and seamless colour,” her bio says. “Jules also shares our love for 70s style fringes and effortless, waterfall waves.

“She’s a big fan of almond croissants and is a self-confessed Francophile, oui!”

Despite never wanting the limelight, Neale has gone from strength to strength since becoming a Lion.

It culminated in a stellar 2020 when he sizzled his way through the entire season and captured the full allotment of three Brownlow votes in 10 games — just one less than Dustin Martin’s record of 11, which he polled in the full 2017 season.

Neale’s historic night would have shattered Martin’s 36-vote record if the 2020 season wasn’t shortened because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the AFL’s new power couple won’t be able to escape the limelight after the 27-year-old star’s blistering night.



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