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Player Review: Dayne Zorko

Player Review: Dayne Zorko See highlights from Dayne Zorko's season.

While most of his numbers were down on his All Australia year of 2017, Dayne Zorko still made a huge impact for the Lions in 2018.

The start of the season was tough for the Lions’ diminutive midfielder, who found himself copping plenty of attention each week from the opposition’s best tagger.

It took the best part of a couple of months for Zorko to learn how to keep his composure and start breaking away from the taggers.

This change coincided with Dayne Beams stepping down from the captaincy, elevating Zorko to the top role – a position he relished.

The responsibility shifted his focus on field.

“I couldn’t think about my own game personally anymore. I had to think about what I could provide for the team,” Zorko said following the season.

“When you’re just a player, there’s no doubt about it you’re certainly always worried about your own performance and how you’re contributing to the team.”

The best feature of Zorko’s game in 2018 was his pressure – ranking 3rd overall in the AFL for tackles with 159 for the season.


In 22 matches, he averaged 21 disposals a game and kicked 26 goals for the season. His consistency and durability have always been a strong point, playing 20 or more matches in each of his last six seasons. 

Zorko won his fourth Merrett-Murray Medal at the end of the season by just one vote from Dayne Beams.

In doing so he became just the second man in Club history to win four consecutive Merrett-Murray Medals. The only other person to achieve such a feat was the legendary Kevin Murray, who won five straight from 1960-64.

While the award came as a surprise to a few, Zorko’s elite work ethic and leadership impressed the coaches consistently throughout the year. 

If the Lions’ are able to bolster their midfield ahead of 2019, which is the stated aim of Fagan and General Manager of Football David Noble, Zorko will be a huge beneficiary as opposition sides will have more to worry about than just him and Dayne Beams in the middle.

Senior games: 22

Coaches Comment - Dale Tapping, Midfield Coach

"A good strong season. Probably not as big in terms of numbers as 2017 but I thought he led the team really well and he played a more sacrificial role for the team. His pressure was right up there with the best in the AFL."

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