If there were any queries over the value AFL players would place on this year’s premiership, it took Dayne Zorko one question to make it clear where the Brisbane Lions stand.
Zorko fronted the media today as the Lions returned to training under strict health protocols for the first time since Covid 19 restrictions were lifted.
With 24 days until round two kicks off, players returned to the Gabba in groups of eight for non-contact skills training.
He said the heavily regulated training protocols, the social distancing rules players have agreed to abide by, which are far more stringent than those for the general public and the irregular fixturing would ensure whoever lifts the cup in 2020 will have earned a memorable achievement.
The same could be said for the winners of the competition’s most prestigious individual awards.
"If anything it's an even harder premiership to win this year," he said.
"I'm not sure how many competitions in AFL history that for seven weeks at the start of the season you go on holidays and you've got to come back and switch on and get ready to win a premiership cup.
"I'm not sure that's ever happened before, not sure it'll ever happen again. I would say there's even more value on it, in all those awards."
Zorko said the clubs that would be successful this season were those that adapted the quickest and most thoroughly to the altered conditions and backed the culture developed at the Club to ensure the Lions would be among that group.
The strong bond between the players would ensure motivation levels remained high even during the most trying times of a season that is sure to present situations never before encountered.
While the fixture will not be revealed until later this week, it is anticipated the Club will face a block of games in SE Queensland over the opening month while the clubs from Western Australia and South Australia are based here due to the guidelines set by their State Governments.
As captain, he will enforce to the playing group the importance of that period.
"This first part of the season is really important,’’ he said.
"We didn't start the year off well but we've got a great opportunity if it may be that we spend the first six weeks in Queensland, we certainly need to capitalise on that knowing that in the back half of the year we're probably travelling a bit."