Brisbane Lions star Lachie Neale is the most talked-about man in football after winning the 2020 Brownlow Medal on Sunday night.
And during his acceptance speech, the 27-year-old paid tribute to his wife, Julie, who left behind her life in Perth so he could chase his dreams in the AFL.
Speaking to Perth Now about their relationship in September 2019, Lachie recalled how they were introduced by a friend almost a decade ago, when he was just 18.
Brutal beginning: Brownlow Medal winner Lachie Neale (left) has reveals how his wife, Julie (right), rejected him when they first met – only for them to fall in love six years later
Julie apparently rejected her future husband at the time because of his boyish looks.
‘The first time I met Jules I was 18 and I asked Pav [teammate Matthew Pavlich] to introduce me to her,’ Lachie said.
‘He came back and said, “She’s not interested in an 18-year-old Harry Styles lookin’ kid.”‘
It wasn’t until ‘about six years later’ that the pair reconnected and became romantically involved. They got engaged in 2017 and married the following year.
They relocated from Perth to Brisbane after getting married, when Lachie switched teams from Fremantle to the Lions after seven seasons.
Romantic! It was not until ‘about six years later’ the duo reconnected and sparks flew before becoming engaged in 2017. Lachie proposed during a romantic dinner at Little Lefroy’s in South Fremantle, Perth (pictured)
Engagement: It has been full steam ahead for Lachie and Jules, 30, who have remained very much in love after tying the knot in Perth in 2018 and relocating to Brisbane. Pictured: Lachie and Jules on their engagement
Lovely: Lachie gave his betrothed a custom-made diamond ring (pictured) from Scagnetti Fine Jewellery in Cottesloe. Julie wrote on Instagram: ‘How bloody lucky am I. Lachie you are one in a million. Cannot wait to marry you x’
Big day: The couple were married in Perth in November 2018 before relocating to Brisbane, where Julie was based, together
The Brisbane Lions player dedicated his 2020 Brownlow Medal win to his wife on Sunday night.
‘My wife Jules, she’s an amazing human being,’ he said in his acceptance speech.
‘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.
Heartwarming moment: The Brisbane Lions player (right) dedicated his 2020 Brownlow Medal win to his beloved wife (left) on Sunday night
Gorgeous: ‘My wife Jules, she’s an amazing human being,’ Lachie (right) said about Jules (left) in his acceptance speech on Sunday
Not quite! Lachie told Perth Now his teammate Matthew Pavlich tried to introduce the pair, but was rebuffed by Julie, who was a tad older than him
‘She was doing very well for herself over there but she always puts me ahead of herself when she shouldn’t have to.’
Neale grew up in Kybybolite – a town 340km south-east of Adelaide – without a school or railway line and largely glued together by the footy club where he first played the sport competitively.
‘Apart from a few dozen houses all that’s left in the town is the footy club and the CFS [Country Fire Service] shed,’ Neale’s Kybybolite Tigers under-17 coach Andrew Shepherd told News Corp.
Oops! ‘The first time I met Jules I was 18 and I asked Pav to introduce me to her. He came back and said, ‘She’s not interested in an 18-year-old Harry Styles lookin’ kid’,’ Lachie (pictured right in 2013 at around age 19) said
It worked: A little older and wiser, the pair reconnected six years later and fell madly in love, becoming engaged three years later. Pictured: Lachie and Jules in 2019
‘And without the footy club the town just about doesn’t exist.’
Jules currently works at Mikki Auld Hairdressing in West End, Brisbane, where the staff call her the ‘beauty queen’.
Her bio on the store’s website reads: ‘She’s our beauty queen, girl next door, classy AF yet so down to earth, angel babe.
Stunner: Jules (pictured) currently works at Mikki Auld Hairdressing in West End, Brisbane, where the staff call her the ‘beauty queen’
‘With a love for lived in colour and balayage, she’s the best in the biz when it comes to blonde and seamless colour.
‘Jules also shares our love for ’70’s style fringes and effortless, waterfall waves. She’s a big fan of almond croissants and is a self-confessed Francophile, oui!’
Despite leaving behind her old life in Perth, Julie seems blissfully happy living in Brisbane with her footy star husband.
At work: Jules’ (pictured) bio on the store’s website reads: ‘She’s our beauty queen, girl next door, classy AF yet so down to earth, angel babe
Happy together: The couple frequently pose together in loved-up images on Instagram, appearing to share a blissful lifestyle at their Brisbane home. Julie captioned one recent relaxed photo of the pair: ‘Hit the husband jackpot. You are incredible’
Moved: On Sunday, the blonde beauty wiped away tears as her husband paid tribute to her while accepting his Brownlow Medal win, revealing she sold her successful beauty salon in Perth to follow him to Brisbane for his football career
Smooch: Julie (right) planted sweet kisses on Lachie’s (left) cheek as he showed off his medal