ALEX Neale says it still feels surreal to welcome a Brownlow medal to the family.
Alex's brother Lachie claimed the AFL's most prestigious individual honour in dominant fashion on Sunday, polling a remarkable 31 votes in a shortened 17-game season.
"It's still very surreal," Alex said.
"I spent about 45 minutes on the phone to my sister today, and we were just like, 'Did that really just happen?'
"It's really something. I'm over the moon for him."
Alex said her nerves on Sunday peaked during the day, but subsided over the course of the vote count as Lachie's lead steadily grew.
"During the day, I was just thinking, '2020 has thrown up a few curve balls this year...'," she said.
"After Brisbane's loss on Saturday night, I thought it would be cruel to lose both things in one weekend.
"I could tell Lachie was pretty nervous at the start of the night - but he relaxed as his lead got bigger and bigger.
"He's so humbled, overwhelmed and very excited. I think he feels very privileged and honoured to have won such a prestigious award."
Alex now works as executive assistant for the Wimmera Health Care Group, and Lachie too has a connection to the Wimmera.
He spent the earliest part of his life on a small farm near Apsley, before moving across the border to Kybybolite and playing football in the Kowree-Tatiara-Naracoorte league.
Lachie went on to play SANFL and was eventually selected late in the 2011 draft by the Fremantle Dockers at pick 58.
From humble beginnings, Alex said Lachie's incredible dedication has been the key to his stunning ascent.
"He was always told he was too short and too slow to play AFL. I think that drove him more," she said.
"He's a very determined guy. I've never seen someone so determined.
"If you had have asked me if he would win a Brownlow in 2011, I would have said no way. But if you'd have asked me two years ago, I would've said yes.
"He is just always looking to better himself, and he never stops working hard to get better."
Alex said she could not wait to celebrate with her family when interstate travel is eventually allowed.
"It's a little bit devastating we can't all be together to celebrate," she said.
"My Dad was able to be up there - he's from South Australia, so he could head up, which was great.
"But if the borders open in time, hopefully we'll see him over the Christmas break and we'll be able to really celebrate."
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