Lachie Neale's spectacular AFL season with the Brisbane Lions saw him take out the Brownlow Medal in a landslide victory, but he didn't forget those who helped him achieve the honour.
Neale, 27, became the fourth Brisbane player to win the Brownlow, alongside club legends Jason Akermanis, Simon Black and Michael Voss, days after the Lions fell one game short of reaching the 2020 AFL grand final with a loss to Geelong.
Neale earned 31 votes from 17 games to win the Brownlow well clear of Port Adelaide's Travis Boak (21 votes), and third-placed Melbourne's Christian Petracca and St Kilda's Jack Steele (20 votes).
In making his acceptance speech, Neale had a special tribute for his wife Julie, who made great personal and professional sacrifice to support her husband's AFL move in 2019 from the Fremantle Dockers to Brisbane.
"I want to thank my wife Jules," Neale said. © GettyLachie Neale and his wife Julie at the 2020 Brownlow Medal
"She's an amazing human being.
"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."
Neale's wife was seen tearing up during his heartfelt speech.
Prior to joining the Lions, Neale was a standout at Fremantle as a two-time best-and-fairest at the Dockers, so it was fitting he was presented the Brownlow virtually from former teammate and last year's winner Nat Fyfe.
Neale has been a key part of Brisbane's incredible rise in the AFL, and under coach Chris Fagan the Lions and Neale are keen to continue their upwards trajectory next season.
"To the footy club, I won't be able to get through everyone, but the staff and the coaching staff and everyone involved in the club, especially this year in such trying times, I think we have done an amazing job and I'm so proud to be part of the organisation from where they have come from to where we are now," Neale said. © GettyLachie Neale of the Lions poses with his wife Julie Neale after winning the Brownlow Medal
"It's a credit to the whole footy club and that starts at the top with Andrew Wellington and Greg Swan down to David Noble and Chris Fagan.
"I'm so thankful to be part of the organisation.
"To our players, this award is really for the club and the playing group. Without them I definitely wouldn't have this medal. You have to be in a pretty successful side and win a lot of games to achieve this. I thank my teammates tremendously for all their work. I love playing with them. They are a great bunch of guys."
In his acceptance speech Neale also gave recognition to the support he'd received from his family throughout his footy career.
"My mum, Amanda, is an amazing person, an amazing woman. I'm very proud to be her son. She's done so much for me and so much for my siblings as well," he said.
"My dad Robbie, our relationship has grown and developed every year and I can honestly say now he's one of my best mates.
"My step-dad Brett, his support for me throughout the journey has been amazing, He's such a good man and looks after our family very well."