Dockers don't expect Neale to cop it hard

Lachie Neale will face his former team and fans when his Lions take on the Dockers in Fremantle.
Lachie Neale will face his former team and fans when his Lions take on the Dockers in Fremantle.

Fremantle defender Connor Blakely says Lachie Neale deserves all the praise he's been getting, and he doesn't expect his former teammate to cop too much crowd abuse this weekend.

Neale played seven seasons with the Dockers before making a surprise switch to Brisbane at the end of last season.

The 25-year-old is averaging a career-high 33.9 possessions and eight clearances per game this season.

Neale will return to his former stomping ground when he lines up in Sunday's clash with Fremantle at Optus Stadium.

Blakely said he and his teammates would potentially engage in some banter with Neale during the game.

But he doesn't expect the crowd to go too hard on the former Docker.

"I expect him to get a normal sort of reception," Blakely said.

"He's been a great servant of our footy club. He won two Doig medals, he played his heart out for this club. So I don't expect anything too controversial.

"He's someone who deserves all the praise that he's been getting.

"He's a really smart and good inside midfielder. He's definitely someone we have to look out for this weekend."

Brisbane sit in fourth spot on the ladder following their hot 6-3 start to the year.

Fremantle (4-5) have slid to ninth following three straight losses.

Poor disposals and inaccuracy in front of goal have cost Fremantle dearly during their losing run, and Blakely said it was an area the team needed to address.

Blakely tallied 20 disposals in last week's seven-point loss to Essendon - his first AFL match of the season after recovering from hamstring surgery.

The fifth-year utility played mostly off half back against the Bombers, but is expected to move into the midfield once his match fitness improves.

Australian Associated Press