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Zorko to make his debut for Australia

Josie Fielding  October 12, 2017 10:45 AM


The Australian team photographed prior to the 2015 International Rules Series match between Ireland and Australia in Dublin, Ireland.

Brisbane Lions’ 2017 Club Champion Dayne Zorko says he is “honoured and over the moon” to earn his debut selection for Australia at next month’s two-match Virgin Australian International Rules Series against Ireland. 

“It’s a great opportunity to play with the best players in the game,” Zorko said.

“To pull on that Australian guernsey is a huge honour. I’m pretty happy as you’d imagine.”

His selection caps off a magical year for “the Magician” after earning his first All-Australian blazer in August and receiving his third consecutive Merrett-Murray Medal.

This is the first time in his career Zorko has been selected to play for Australia in the International Rules Series. Australia will host Ireland at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday November 12 and then again at Domain Stadium on Saturday November 18.

There’s been a few rule changes over the years, so I’m going to have to get Wikipedia out to learn them all,” he said.

Watching the games over the years, Zorko knows the Irish are not to be underestimated.

“I believe it’s always quite fiery and a physical match. I can’t see it being any different from that.”

Zorko was the only Lion selected in Coach Chris Scott’s 17-man squad. Scott says it is recognition for his outstanding performances during the 2017 AFL season.

“Selection in the Australian side is about both recognising the great players in our competition, and those players who are emerging as stars who will dominate the seasons to come,” Scott said.

“As selectors, we needed to balance the team with players who have represented Australia before, and understand the game and how it is played against Ireland, and also look to the next generation of elite players who deserve the opportunity to represent us on an international stage.

“All Australian selection at some point in a player’s career was a pre-requisite for consideration, as we also believe that the best players want to learn from each other and provide an environment where they can be better again when they return to their clubs,” he said.

The Aussies will gather in Adelaide a week before the first test as they to plot revenge. The two sides have not met in two years and the Irish have the upper hand, with the Cormac McAnnellen Trophy. They defeated Australia in a one-off test at Croke Park in Dublin in 2015.

Australian players huddle during the 2015 International Rules Series match between Ireland and Australia.
AFL 2015 IR Series - Australia v Ireland

Zorko will call some of AFL’s greatest players teammates, including:

Gary Ablett (Gold Coast Suns), All Australian 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 (vice-captain), 2011 (captain), 2012 (vice-captain), 2013 (vice-captain), 2014. Never previously played IRS.

Eddie Betts (Adelaide Crows), All Australian 2015, 2016, 2017. IRS representative 2010, 2015.

Travis Boak (Port Adelaide), All Australian 2014, 2014. IRS representative 2014.

Shaun Burgoyne (Hawthorn), All Australian 2006. IRS representative 2008.

Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong Cats), All Australian 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017. IRS representative 2010, 2014, 2015.

Nathan Fyfe (Fremantle), All Australian 2015, 2015. Never previously played IRS.

Brendon Goddard (Essendon), All Australian 2009, 2010. IRS representative 2006, 2014, 2015.

Toby Greene (GWS Giants). All Australian 2016. Never previously played IRS.

Michael Hibberd (Melbourne), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.

Rory Laird (Adelaide Crows), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.

Zac Merrett (Essendon), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.

Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood), All Australian 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. IRS representative 2008.

Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide), All Australian 2017. Never previously played IRS.

Joel Selwood (Geelong Cats), All Australian 2009, 2010, 2013 (captain), 2014 (captain), 2016 (captain), 2017. IRS representative 2014 (captain).

Rory Sloane (Adelaide Crows), All Australian 2016. Never previously played IRS.

Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide), All Australian 2013, 2015. IRS representative 2014.