Let's take a look at Alex Neal-Bullen's 2021...
No. AFL games: 25
Disposals - 16.3 avg. (408 total)
Score involvements - 4.6 avg. (115 total)
Tackles - 4.4 avg. (111 total)
Tackles inside 50 - 1.7 avg. (43 total - 1st in AFL)
Pressure acts - 22.2 avg. (555 total)
Goals - 15 total
It's no secret that at the end of 2020 Neal-Bullen was in the club's trade discussions. Luckily, he remained a Demon for 2021 and made an impact straight from the get-go, with the first half of his year earning him a mid-season contract extension.
The small forward, who is often considered a quiet achiever, has become one of Melbourne's most consistent performers. Not only is the 25-year-old able to impress up forward, kicking 15 goals, but his defensive pressure across the ground is exceptional, averaging 22.2 pressure acts and leading the competition for total tackles inside 50 (43). His 100th AFL game came in Round 21 and it was a night to remember for Neal-Bullen, producing one of his top displays of the season with 20 disposals, two goals, eight score involvements and eight tackles, five of which were inside 50.
2021 also saw Neal-Bullen become somewhat of a mentor to his teammates Kysaiah Pickett and Charlie Spargo. The three worked together to create a perfect trio of small forwards, with Neal-Bullen's experience an example to his younger counterparts. His year finished with finals performances that played a part in Melbourne's success, averaging 22 disposals throughout the three appearances. The No.30 topped off his year by celebrating a drought-breaking premiership alongside his teammates.