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HomeAFLBrisbane Lions, Dayne Zorko, steps down, captain, announcement, latest, replacement, 2023 captains

Brisbane Lions, Dayne Zorko, steps down, captain, announcement, latest, replacement, 2023 captains

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Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko has announced he’s stepping down as leader of the football club after five years in the role.

The 34-year-old made the announcement on Tuesday, just 10 days out from the club’s first pre-season fixture of the year.

“I step down at a time when the club is in really good hands and entering a new chapter,” he said in a statement.

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“It’s something I have really, really thought about (stepping down) and wanted to do.

“I’m obviously coming towards the end of my career so I feel the timing is right to let the new leader find their own feet in the role.

“I’ll be there to support them the whole way in whatever way I can.”

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Zorko had been fourth on the all-time games captained list for the Lions, with 105 games – behind Michael Voss (210 games), Jonathon Brown (128) and Roger Merrett (125).

The five-time club best and fairest had spoken recently about his intention to carry on as skipper in 2023, claiming he would “certainly put my hand up”.

“The players have always chosen who they want their captain to be,” he said on SEN pre-Christmas break.

“In the past, they’ve chosen me.

“If it’s a different way this year, then so be it.”

But the skipper had a change of heart, telling teammates of his decision to step down earlier this week.

The decision to hand over the captaincy comes only months after AFL experts called for Zorko to stand down for his role in a heated sledging scandal that left rival Harrison Petty in tears.

While Zorko apologised for his “inappropriate” personal comments directed at the Melbourne defender, Fox Footy’s David King said his time as captain had to end.

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“He can’t be captain doing that stuff. He can’t be captain if he’s a recidivist in this area and getting it wrong,” he said.

At the time, fellow Fox Footy experts Leigh Montagna and Anthony Hudson who the next Brisbane captains could be, with vice-captain Harris Andrews, Jarrod Berry and Hugh McCluggage all put forward.

Lions coach Chris Fagan paid tribute to Zorko’s time as captain.

“Dayne leaves an exceptional legacy after holding the captaincy at such a pivotal time in Lions history,” he said.

“He took over halfway through my second year. His leadership and drive have been key factors in our performance improvement, and you simply can’t argue with what the team has achieved under his captaincy.

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“Dayne is a true Clubman and has always been one to put his hand up for the good of the Club.

“Dayne will always be recognised as one of Brisbane’s most influential skippers.”

The club said it will announce their 12th captain after a leadership group vote “in the coming weeks”.

The Lions are now the latest club searching for a new leader after Nat Fyfe stepped down as Fremantle captain.

In recent days, Port Adelaide reappointed Tom Jonas as captain while at Adelaide Jordan Dawson was announced as Rory Sloane’s replacement.

Collingwood announced Darcy Moore as their captain, taking over from Scott Pendlebury, while North Melbourne’s Jy Simpkin and Luke McDonald will have a shared role as skippers in 2023.

Geelong and Hawthorn still have an opening.

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