North Melbourne legend David King has declared Brisbane skipper Dayne Zorko “can’t be captain” after his sledge to Harrison Petty which left the Demons youngster in tears.
The vile slur towards a member of Petty’s family during Friday night’s heated clash left the defender visibly upset as he was consoled by Melbourne teammates, officials and coaches.
The Herald Sun reports Zorko’s alleged sledge was along the lines of: “I hope your mother dies.”
Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
It’s not the only altercation a fiery Zorko was involved in on the night as tempers flared, with the veteran’s exchange with Petty believed to happen heading into the three-quarter time siren.
Foxfooty.com.au confirmed the AFL spoke with both clubs and is comfortable with the way it was handled including apologies from Zorko and the Lions, also confirming that the AFL Players Association also contacted both parties after the incident.
But speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack, King lamented the poor act from the Brisbane captain and called for the players union to take further action in the off-season.
“He can’t be captain doing that stuff. He can’t be captain if he’s a recidivist in this area and getting it wrong,” he said.
“I reckon the players have got to legislate their own, I think this is a Players Association issue. I’m not saying (CEO) Paul Marsh, I’m saying the leadership group there.
“In the off-season they should come together and say, ‘we’ve got look after each other. We’re not going to accept this from Dayne Zorko, if you step outside the code — our own code, to our own people — then we’re going to sanction you, fine you, suspend you, take a greater control of what’s acceptable and what’s not.’ This not the first time.”
St Kilda champion Leigh Montagna believes the onus largely falls on Brisbane handling the matter internally, noting Zorko “has form in this area”.
“He’s done this in the past, I know there are other teams really disappointed with some of the other stuff he’s said,” the dual All-Australian said.
“So I’d like to see Brisbane internally say, ‘Dayne, you’re our leader. You don’t need to go there. You need to lead from the front with your ability to pressure and tackle and win the contested ball and all the things they need to do to win games of footy and not get caught up in that stuff.’
“I’d like to see a stronger leadership group speak to Dayne about it and just take it out of his game.”
Montagna then questioned who the Lions’ next leader is, with Harris Andrews currently vice-captain, saying, “it’s hard to know,” while Fox Footy commentator Anthony Hudson said, “Jarrod Berry and Hugh McCluggage in the future perhaps.”
The incident sparked a heated discussion between Demons footy boss Alan Richardson and Brisbane counterpart Danny Dally before Zorko was confronted by several Demons at the end of the game including having a long conversation with Petty.
In a statement on Saturday, the Lions said Zorko, who admitted he acted inappropriately, had been counselled by senior Lions officials, including Daly, chief executive Greg Swann, chairman Andrew Wellington and coach Chris Fagan.
“I have apologised to Harrison for the inappropriate comment I made to him last night,” Zorko said.
“I’m remorseful for my actions and take full responsibility for the hurt caused to Harrison, his family and the Melbourne Football Club.
“In reflection, I understand I need to be a better leader, and have spoken with the Club who have reinforced this.”