Zorko defies AFL draft woes, races to 200

·2-min read

Dayne Zorko remembers Simon Black telling him that, after earning a place on Brisbane's AFL list in 2011, the hard work had just begun.

"It's easy to get on a list," the Brownlow and Norm Smith Medal-winner told Zorko.

"I disagreed with him," Zorko, a Queensland under-18 captain overlooked in four consecutive drafts, laughed this week ahead of his 200th AFL game.

"I got turned away a number of times but didn't give up, worked on the areas I needed to, kept trying to grow and eventually knocked that door down to be given an opportunity.

"If you get told no, always look to improve."

Apparently injury-prone and - at 175cm - too short, Zorko's Gold Coast home club weren't willing to roll the dice on the midfielder, who was eventually traded by them to the Lions as a 22-year-old.

He hasn't looked back.

Zorko is set to become the first player from that 2011 draft to hit the 200-game milestone and one of just 14 still playing from his original 2007 draft year.

After a rocky start he's helped turn Brisbane (11-4, third) into a title threat ahead of Saturday's clash with St Kilda (7-8, 11th), ironically shifted from the Gabba to Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium.

"It's happened pretty quickly and touch wood it continues to trend that way," Zorko said of his surge to 200 games.

"I'm extremely lucky to have the continuity in my body to play every week, touch wood.

"I disagreed with (Simon Black at the time), but he was spot on with that statement; it's very hard to stay in the AFL system, you need to constantly perform."

Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale trained well on Thursday and has been named to face the Saints after missing the 52-point thrashing of Adelaide with a minor calf complaint.

Impressive Irish recruit James Madden also returns despite having finger surgery just last week.

Harris Andrews should play but Jarrod Berry (calf) suffered another setback after returning from a long lay-off last week, while Rhys Mathieson has been omitted.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting