Brisbane Lions captain Dayne Zorko is under fire after allegedly delivering an appalling sled on the field that left Melbourne’s Harrison Petty in tears on Friday night.
Petty had to spend some time off the field after collapsing during the three-quarter break as the Demons took box seat with a dominant 18.7 (115) to 8.9 (57) win to finish in the top two.
Watch the moment Petty burst into tears in the video player above
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Zorko faced several demons after the final siren before having a lengthy discussion with Petty on the field.
Demons coach Simon Goodwin confirmed Petty, 22, had heard something personal about a family member and the Lions had “apologized” to the Demons for the incident.
“Obviously Petts thought he heard something inappropriate about a family member, he was a little upset about it,” Goodwin said.
“The Lions have spoken to us and of course the AFL will look into it, but those are pretty much the details we can give at the moment.
“Brisbane have been quite apologetic to us and that’s the kind of football club they are…we’ll take them at their word.”
Lions coach Chris Fagan said he was unaware of the exact nature of the incident but admitted he would be disappointed to see his captain overshoot.
“I would be concerned that one of our players was involved in such an incident, but I won’t judge it just yet because I don’t know enough about it,” Fagan said.
Now The Herald Sun claims Zorko attacked Petty’s mother.
“Dayne Zorko’s sled to Harrison Petty was something like, I hope your mother dies,” the report reads.
“Zorko is a classic case of white line fever. They say he’s a decent guy off the field but on that, and as we’ve all seen, he gets insanely competitive.”
The Lions released a statement after an investigation Saturday confirming Zorko had been “advised” by chief executive Greg Swann, chairman Andrew Wellington, senior coach Chris Fagan and Daly.
Brisbane said the skipper “is keen to control his emotions for the good of himself and the club”.
“I apologized to Harrison for the inappropriate comment I made to him last night,” Zorko said.
“I regret my actions and accept full responsibility for the injuries inflicted on Harrison, his family and Melbourne Football Club.
“Having thought about it, I understand I need to be a better leader and spoke to the club who reiterated that.”
On Friday night, Melbourne AFLW captain and Channel 7 commentator Daisy Pearce said she hoped Zorko had simply “unknowingly hit a nerve” with what was said.
“Obviously that really offends him,” she said.
“You just hope it’s something stupid, you usually just walk away thinking that what someone says on a football field is something stupid.
“But it was very personal and struck a chord with Petty.”
Hawthorn’s Premiership legend Luke Hodge added: “To see a player like that in the forty-five minutes is a horrific scene.”
Zorko is no stranger to post-match incidents with opponents, having had two clashes with Sun midfielder Touk Miller in the past.
Miller turned down the young midfielder’s offer of a handshake after the inaugural Queensland derby in 2019, before unleashing a verbal barrage at the Sun in that year’s second leg, before bizarrely following Miller across the field with his hand outstretched after a brief stoppage handshake.
Lions coach Chris Fagan said Zorko’s behavior may have been prompted by Brisbane’s bad night at the office when the Dems all but wiped out their top-four ambitions – but he defended his leader’s character.
“He’s very passionate about our football club and he would have been quite disappointed with what had developed and that would have caused some frustration,” Fagan said.
“I’d like to look at a vision to get a really accurate feel for it because while his leadership tonight might not have been up to standard… he’s been great for us over the last four or five years.
“So I’m not going to smack him for a performance that he possibly underperformed.”
The Demons knocked out Luke Jackson with a corked calf late in the win, but Goodwin was confident the Ruckman wouldn’t miss game time with next weekend’s bye before the Finals.
Brisbane, almost certain to finish fifth or even sixth up the ladder, lost Jarrod Berry to an ankle complaint while Cam Rayner was reported for a sling tackle on Demon Ben Brown in the first quarter.
– With AAP
https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/dayne-zorko-reportedly-made-reference-to-harrison-pettys-mother-in-sledge-that-left-the-young-melbourne-demons-star-in-tears-c-7958499 Dayne Zorko was reportedly referring to Harrison Petty’s mum in the sled, who burst into tears at the young Melbourne Demons AFL star