Brisbane Lions captain Dayne Zorko will shelve the sledging which even he conceded crossed a line last week and channel that energy in to “winning the footy” in next week’s must-win elimination final against Richmond according to teammate Lachie Neale.
Zorko was forced in to a humbling post-match public apology to Melbourne’s Harrison Petty this week for a cutting sledge which brought the Demon defender to tears at the Gabba last week.
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But fresh from securing his third All-Australian gong this week Neale, among the favourites to secure another Brownlow medal, said Zorko would have a more zoned-in focus when the Lions take on the Tigers next Thursday.
“You’ll see him channel that into winning the footy and standing up for our guys in the way that he plays, rather than any of that stuff,” Neale said on Friday.
“He’s our captain, that won’t change through September … he’ll lead from the front like he usually does with great intent … I expect him to put his head over the footy and win it for us and get to work.
“We’ll back him in 100 per cent.”
The Lions have fallen out of premiership contention according to plenty of pundits on the back of the final round, 58-point pounding by reigning premiers Melbourne, and a less than impressive recent finals record.
Neale conceded that record, which includes one win from Brisbane’s past five finals and two straight-sets exits, “isn’t great”. But the belief remains high in a group which has beaten Richmond in a final in 2020.
“You get what you deserve in this competition and people are writing us off because of our performances,” he said.
“But we still have an inner-belief that we can still do some real damage. We will embrace that underdog status.
“I know our finals record isn’t great … but we’ve had two really closes loses and every team we have lost to has gone on to play in the Grand Final. I still feel like our best is capable of beating anyone.”
“When we’re under the pump and on edge a little bit it brings out the best in our team. We know when we get challenged we can respond.”
Callum Ah Chee, who hasn’t [played since being concussed in Round 21, trained with Brisbane‘s VFL side on Friday and will likely play a half of their final on Saturday against Southport to push his case for an AFL finals return.