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History of the QClash

Bring on QClash! Who's ready for QClash 16??

QClash football is always personal. But for Lions Captain Dayne Zorko, QClash 16 on Saturday night at Metricon Stadium will be extra personal.

Zorko, originally a Gold Coaster, has forged a wonderful AFL career with the Lions and will play his 13th QClash against the Gold Coast Suns to equal the Club record of ex-Lion Tom Rockliff.

He hasn’t missed a game against the Club based not far from where he played his junior football at Broadbeach since he broke into the Lions' side in Round 7, 2012.

Only Suns games record-holder Jarrod Harbrow, set for his 15th QClash, has played more often in the Queensland derby.

Zorko is the Lions’ leading goal-kicker in QClash history with 14, ahead of Rockliff (12) and Jonathan Brown (12), and ranks second for the Club in QClash disposals with 257, behind only Rockliff (371).

He is also the all-time leading tackler in QClash history with 79, ahead of Rockliff (69).

The ever-competitive 29-year-old, three-time Merrett Murray Medallist and 2017 All-Australian has more than earned his stripes in the AFL and certainly has nothing left to prove.


But in the back of his mind, still, will be the knowledge that after being repeatedly overlooked in the AFL Draft prior to the birth of the Suns he was zoned to the Suns and only got his chance at the Lions after he was given up by them.

With the rights to the prolific Broadbeach star, Gold Coast traded Zorko to Brisbane at the end of their first season in the AFL for selection #34 in the 2011 National Draft.

This eventually ended up at Geelong and saw them use it to select West Australian Shane Kersten, who played 37 games for the Cats from 2014-16 before 27 games with Fremantle in 2017-18.

It was reported at the time that Zorko, easily the best player in the AFL Queensland competition and a State team standout, had chronic groin problems that cast a doubt on his future.

He did sit out the first six games of the 2012 season after a restricted groin-related preparation with the Lions but since then has been flawless on the injury front.

He’s missed only four games – three through suspension and one for personal reasons following his father’s death.

Still, it won’t have slipped Zorko’s mind that in the Round 5 QClash this year his opponent, Suns tagger Touk Miller, won the Marcus Ashcroft Medal as best afield.

Miller held the Lions' ball magnet to 10 possessions and one goal in the Suns’ five-point win at the Gabba.

So while Zorko’s primary objective will be just to win there is a personal motivation too.

Only once in Q-Clash history have the Suns won both QClashes in the same year – in 2015.

In a season in which the improving Lions have been tagged ‘the best four-win side in AFL history’, the prospect of suffering the same indignation again won’t sit well with Zorko, who will lead his side in a QClash for the first time as the official Club Captain.

He did lead the Lions as a fill-in captain in Round 4, 2016, when the Lions won by 13 points at the Gabba.

In a head-to-head QClash record that favours the Lions 9-6, remembering that in 2011 both games were played at the Gabba, it is 3-3 at Metricon.

Lions Coach Chris Fagan has named Oscar McInerney and Brandon Starcevich to play their first QClash on Saturday night, while Suns counterpart Stuart Dew has included four QClash debutants: Jack Leslie and Queenslanders Brad Scheer, Brayden Crossley and Jacob Heron.

Luke Hodge, Alex Witherden, Cam Rayner, Josh Walker, Jarrod Berry and Zac Bailey will play their second QClash for the Lions hoping to taste victory over the Suns for the first time.

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