Dayne Zorko (born 9 February 1989) is a professional Australian rules footballer playing for the Brisbane Lions in the Australian Football League (AFL). Zorko is a four-time Merrett–Murray Medallist and was selected in the 2017 All-Australian team. He was also the Lions' leading goalkicker in 2016 and 2017. Zorko has served as Brisbane Lions captain since midway through the 2018 season, after Dayne Beams stepped down from the captaincy.
Zorko playing for the Brisbane Lions in 2017
|Full name||Dayne Zorko|
|Nickname(s)||Zorks, Tinka, The Magician|
|Date of birth||9 February 1989|
|Place of birth||Gold Coast, Queensland|
|Original team(s)||Broadbeach (NEAFL)|
|Draft||2011 QLD zone selection|
Round 7, 2012, Brisbane Lions|
vs. Collingwood, at the Gabba
|Height||175 cm (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||74 kg (163 lb)|
|Position(s)||Midfielder / forward|
|Current club||Brisbane Lions|
|2012–||Brisbane Lions||168 (184)|
|International team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2019.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2017.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Zorko was born and raised on the Gold Coast where he attended Benowa State High School throughout his teenage years.. His Slovenian father immigrated from Yugoslavia to Melbourne before settling on the Gold Coast and having children. His brother, Beau, is the current senior coach of the Broadbeach Cats.
Dayne began playing his junior football for the Surfers Paradise Demons at the age of four but later switched to the Broadbeach Cats. He captained Queensland during the 2007 AFL Under 18 Championships but was overlooked in the 2007 AFL draft. Zorko remained at Broadbeach and picked up his first best-and-fairest award in 2008, but was again overlooked in the AFL draft.
By the end of the 2010 season, Zorko had picked up three consecutive best-and-fairest awards at Broadbeach but still failed to capture the interest of any AFL clubs. He found himself at a crossroad when being offered contracts to play in higher standard leagues outside of Queensland but eventually decided to stay at Broadbeach for the 2011 NEAFL season. Broadbeach coach Matt Angus knew Zorko had the skills to make it in the AFL but described his professionalism as "nowhere near that" required of an AFL player.
At the conclusion of the 2011 season, after winning the NEAFL's Syd Guildford Trophy as the league best-and-fairest, along with a fourth consecutive club best-and-fairest, he was put back on AFL recruiters' radars.
Zorko was recruited by Gold Coast as a Queensland zone selection, before being on-traded to the Brisbane Lions. Zorko made his AFL debut against Collingwood at the Gabba in round 7, 2012, and quickly made a name for himself as a small half-forward flank who could kick freakish goals, leading to the nickname "The Magician". He quickly became a cult figure at the Lions despite the team's woes, with Michael Voss being sacked as coach before the end of the 2013 season and the Lions hovering around the lower reaches of the ladder for several seasons.
After a consistent first few seasons, Zorko was named as the joint winner of the Merrett–Murray Medal in 2015 as Brisbane's best-and-fairest, alongside Dayne Beams, Stefan Martin and Mitch Robinson. He went on to also win the award in 2016 and 2017, as well as lead the Lions' goalkicking during those seasons, and was also selected in the 2017 All-Australian team as a forward pocket.
Zorko replaced Beams as the Lions' captain during the 2018 season after Beams stepped down from the captaincy for personal reasons, with Harris Andrews taking over as vice-captain from Zorko. His first match as captain was in round 10 against Sydney at the Gabba.
- Statistics are correct to the end of the 2019 season 
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
Honours and achievementsEdit
- IN THE BOTTLE - THE GREAT ZORKO
- Zorko: From Zero to 100
- Broadbeach Cats 2019 QAFL Season Preview
- Keane, Justin (22 July 2017). "Dayne Zorko raises hand for All-Australian selection". hashtagfooty.com.au. Hashtag Footy. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- Whiting, Michael (12 September 2015). "Four Lions share top honour at best and fairest". afl.com.au. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- Whiting, Michael (3 September 2016). "Zorko goes back to back in Lions' year of pain". afl.com.au. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- Navaratnam, Dinny (30 August 2017). "Shock skipper, All Australian team revealed". afl.com.au. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- Whiting, Michael (23 May 2018). "Beams steps aside as Lions skipper". afl.com.au. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- Whiting, Michael (25 May 2018). "Learning to lead: Lion ready to step up". afl.com.au. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "Dayne Zorko". AFL Tables. Retrieved 24 March 2018.