The Lions were stunned by reports of Neale's reported interest to return to Western Australia, with there to be some belief a trade request to Fremantle is imminent.
RELATED: Lions veteran weighing up future
The news has left the Lions and their faithful highly strung, as a formal decision on the South Australian's future awaits.
Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko remains confident in the club's list and future, backing their premiership contention for next season with or without Neale's services.
When asked by Channel 7 about Neale's potential exit from the Lions, Zorko expressed his dismay, but was reassured by the club's depth.
"It would be extremely disappointing," he said.
"But I think we've seen at times this year the resilience in our group; when someone's gone out of the team we've been able to fill that void.
The prelim finals build up has been overshadowed by a trade bombshell involving Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale. Chief Football Reporter @TomBrowne7 with more. https://t.co/5zYfOfohG3 #7AFL #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/iqlcYncOsE
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) September 6, 2021
"We've got a great young crop of players coming through, that Lachie's certainly helped develop, which is really important for us and we've called on them plenty of times.
"If a trade does happen, then I'm sure we'll get something great in return and our younger guys would get an opportunity."
Should Neale officially request a return to the Dockers, the Lions are tipped to play hard-ball in order for a move to progress.
Fremantle will likely require a lucrative hand of draft capital to satisfy the Lions to part ways with their star ball-magnet.
— RSN927am (@RSN927) September 7, 2021
To add a further twist to the trade saga, AFL Media reports that more than half of Neale's contract has already been paid to the midfielder as part of a front-ended deal.
Neale remains contracted to the Lions for the final two years of his five-year deal, however has reportedly already seen over 70% paid from the estimated $4 million contract.
The Dockers are likely to look to move on wantaway midfielder Adam Cerra before finalising negotiations with the Lions, with a rival's first-round selection likely aiding the process.