AFL Rd 2 - Brisbane v Fremantle
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 13: Lachie Neale of the Lions celebrates kicking a goal during the round 2 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Fremantle Dockers at The Gabba on June 13, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Former St Kilda and North Melbourne midfielder Nick Dal Santo has claimed the 2020 Brownlow Medal is Lachie Neale’s to lose following another stunning performance against Essendon on Friday night, per Fox Footy.

Neale collected 33 possessions, 14 contested touches and seven score involvement in his side’s 63-point win over the Bombers.

The ball-magnet has become the clear Brownlow favourite in the league ahead of Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin, with Dal Santo speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack – believing Neale has managed to poll close to 18 votes so far this year.

“He is on fire. I’m going to give him another best on ground performance (against Essendon),” Dal Santo told First Crack. “He’s on 18 votes already.

“They’ve lost two games — and in both of those games he had 26 disposals and kicked a goal, so let’s assume he doesn’t poll even though he may because he was probably the best for the opposition.

“He’s had six ‘best ons’ and I’m going to take one off him because there can be some randomness with the umpiring — that’s how well he’s going.”

However, Neale isn’t the only Lion to shine in 2020, with fellow midfielders Jarryd Lyons and Dayne Zorko, All-Australian defender Harris Andrews and star goal sneak Charlie Cameron all potentially stealing votes.

But no matter hard his teammates try to take the spotlight, Neale’s numbers from all nine games remains unparalleled.

“You look at his numbers: He’s averaging 28 disposals, he’s kicked goals this year which he hasn’t always done consistently prior to that. His lowest (disposal count) was 20 and then otherwise 26 has been his lowest twice, so his numbers are enormous.”

Neale polled 26 votes in the 2019 count, with five best on ground performances and a total of 13 games in the best.

Fellow panelist and former North Melbourne dual-premiership player David King said Neale may already have a very defendable lead at the halfway point of the season.

“The five one-voters are the killer. So they turn into threes, or at least twos,” King told First Crack.

“Logic says he’s into short odds now to win it. Eighteen is a big number, but if he is (on 18 votes), it’s over. He’d have a six-vote lead.”