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Why Zorko returned to training in the best shape of his life

Excitement building around 'super versatile' young Lion Dinny Navaratnam and Riley Beveridge bring you an update on the Lions' pre-season

DAYNE Zorko had every reason to return to pre-season training in November in the best shape of his life.

After taking over from Dayne Beams as Brisbane's captain midway through last season, Zorko not only wanted to establish himself as the man to lead in 2019 but set the highest example for teammates to follow.

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He did just that.

In his eighth pre-season, Zorko set a personal best in the club's 3km time trial early in the New Year, breaking 10 minutes for the first time, pipped only by 21-year-old midfielder Jarrod Berry.

"Leaving last year as the captain, I thought it was really important that I came back in the best possible nick, if not the best shape out of everyone," Zorko told AFL.com.au.

"I really wanted to set a strong example not only for the boys that were here, but the draftees that came in and the traded players that came in.

"I put that expectation on myself. I went out and sought extra training through different people in the off-season to get myself in the best shape.

"I thought it was important I showed that when I came back."

 

Brisbane is in the process of electing its leadership group, and captain, and there's nothing to suggest Zorko won't lead again.

He is fresh off his fourth straight Merrett-Murray Medal as the Lions' best and fairest and said the captaincy had improved his game.

"I thoroughly enjoyed doing the job last year and would love the opportunity again to lead the boys out," he said.

"I thought it helped develop my game and it's something I'm passionate about and I'd love to continue the job.

"I thought it helped me to not think about my own performances.

"As a player you can certainly fall into the trap of thinking about kicks, marks and handpasses, whereas when you're the captain you've got to think outside yourself and how you can help the team and pick other blokes up if they're struggling.

"I thought it developed my game and added another string to my bow."

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Zorko said while it was nice to be fit during pre-season, it had to carry over into round one.

"It's great to run those times, but you've got to be able to translate that now. I've certainly noticed it (fitness) in the practice matches," he said.