Lions deputy Dayne Zorko is making big strides.
Lions deputy Dayne Zorko is making big strides. DAN PELED

Zorko breaks the shackles

BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan believes Dayne Zorko has finally broken the shackles against taggers.

Lions deputy Zorko had a running battle with Melbourne's Bernie Vince before cutting loose in the second half of Saturday night's AFL round two clash at the Gabba.

Zorko's 20 touches, a team-high nine clearances and match-high 11 tackles sparked a fightback as the Lions reeled in a 42-point third term deficit to draw level with 20 minutes left.

It wasn't enough as Jesse Hogan and Jeff Garlett combined to help Melbourne hold on by 26 points for the Demons' first win of the year.

While frustrated by their second straight tight loss, Fagan believed 2017 All-Australian Zorko had claimed a major win after becoming frustrated by taggers.

"I loved the way Zorko fought off his tag,” Fagan said.

"That's a good breakthrough game for him. That's a good sign.”

Zorko had concerns about being tagged last year after being limited to five touches by Greater Western Sydney in round 14 and just 11 by Richmond three weeks later.

And alarm bells were ringing for the 2017 All-Australian after he was restricted to 14 disposals by St Kilda's Koby Stevens in their season-opener last week.

It prompted Zorko to have a heart- to-heart with Fagan.

"I talked about the fact that once you become a really good player, that's the next stage - they try to tag you,” Fagan said of that conversation.

"You have to work your way through that because if you can't they will tag you all the time. But I thought that was a big step forward for him.”

Even Demons coach Simon Goodwin liked what he saw from Zorko.

"It was a great duel,” he said of Zorko's battle with Vince. "Zorko is a really talented player. He can impact on the scoreboard and really drives through energy.” - Laine Clark



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