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My Football Story: Dayne Zorko

Dayne Zorko: My Football Story From three AFL draft knock backs to three Brisbane Lions Club Champion Awards. Dayne Zorko shares his remarkable journey from rejection to Brisbane Lions Captain.

Dayne Zorko is relentless on field with arguably one of the hardest work ethics in the competition.

It’s no fluke how he came to play and dominate in the AFL. 

“Being from Queensland, it was very difficult to get drafted,” he told

“It was a dream but not really a reality.”

Week in, week out, Zorko starred as an 18-year-old for the Broadbeach Cats on the Gold Coast, taking home four consecutive best and fairest medals.

Despite this, he was knocked back at the AFL Draft three times before finally being picked up by the Gold Coast Suns, only to then be traded to the Lions in 2011 at 22 years of age.

“The disappointment of not getting picked up as an 18-year-old, I had the option of either forgetting and stopping playing because my football dream was over or to keep working hard,” Zorko said.

 “It wasn’t until 2011 when I thought this was it…I was fortunate enough to be picked up by the Brisbane Lions [that year].”

When he finally arrived at the Gabba for his first pre-season, he was intent on working hard and fitting in with the team.

“First of all, you just want to play one game of senior football,” Zorko said.

“It wasn’t until Round 7 out at the Gabba when I got my opportunity.”

In the early years of his career, he was able to share the field with some of the Lions' greats including Jonathon Brown and Simon Black.

Zorko said he walked taller playing alongside them and looked up to them as leaders.

“There’s a sense that you don’t really want to let them down,” he said.

Now that he is captain of the group himself, many of his teammates would look to him in the same way. Zorko became skipper after Dayne Beams stood down mid-year.

“To get the tick of approval from Fages and the rest of the players was a special moment for myself,” he said.

His resilience when he was younger has paid off in more ways than he could imagine.

“My pathway, as I’ve explained earlier, was a lot different than what an average 18-year-old potentially comes into the system and has.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs