In his first year in the AFL system, Lachie McNeil has wasted no time making an impact.

He certainly did that for the Western Bulldogs on Friday night.

The 19-year-old made his debut in round one and played the first five games after being selected by the Bulldogs in last year’s rookie draft.

As the medical sub for the round six clash with the GWS Giants, McNeil wasn’t sure what to expect.

But he was in the game early – subbed in for Lin Jong after a hamstring injury – and kicked two important goals in the win.


“Coming into the sub, you don’t really know what to do – whether you’re going to play or whether you’re not going to play,” McNeil said.

“You’ve just got to be ready.

“You don’t want to come on – especially when Jongy goes down with an injury, so it wasn’t ideal, but I just came on and tried to play my role.”

The speedy teenager has found a home forward of centre for the Bulldogs, with five goals from his six matches to chip in around the likes of Josh Bruce and Aaron Naughton.

One of his goals against the Giants was a coolly-converted set shot and the second a smart handball intercept late in the contest.

McNeil feels like he’s starting to belong at the level.

“It’s a lot to take in but I’m loving it at the moment. It obviously helps when you’re winning,” he said.

“I really feel like I’m starting to become a part of the team.

“The boys have been really welcoming which is really good.

“We’ve got to keep a lid on it and focus week-to-week, but 6-0 is a fantastic start and we’re very happy.”