Personal accolades not enough for Zorko
DAYNE Zorko may have enjoyed the best season of his career last year, but the recently-appointed Brisbane Lions vice-captain is still taking every opportunity to improve his game and help get the club back into finals contention.
Zorko hit career marks in disposals, goals and tackles in 2017, and was rewarded for his dominant season with a first All-Australian nod and third-consecutive Merrett-Murray medal as the Lions' best and fairest.
The 29-year-old relished the opportunity to play alongside a host of household names in the International Rules series against Ireland, and said he took a lot from how his contemporaries go about things.
"It was such a great experience to be a part of that, playing with greats of the competition like Rory Sloane, Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, and learn the way they go about their football," Zorko said, speaking during the Lions' community camp at Woodcrest State College on Monday.
"They were able to give me a bit of feedback. I was able to share some thoughts of how they thought the Lions were going back to our coaching staff, and it all seemed pretty positive."
Statistically, Zorko has improved each season since 2014, averaging 2.8 more disposals per game and doubling his goals per game output from 0.8 to 1.6.
He hopes to continue that upward trend in 2018, parallel to a rise up the ladder for the Lions after eight years without a finals appearance.
"That's the plan every year, continuing to improve and the last few years I've been able to do that," he said.
"(Being named All-Australian) was a fantastic honour, but ultimately I want to play finals football. I think every player wants to do that.
"Individual awards are great along the way, but the overarching theme is you want to win premierships, you want to play in finals and that's something I'll be striving to."
Someone who knows a thing or two about playing in finals and winning premierships is Luke Hodge.
The four-time premiership winner and former Hawthorn skipper has been "invaluable" both on and off the field according to Zorko.
"Luke's been great, especially with the standards he produces on and off the field," Zorko said.
"The culture he and his leadership group set at Hawthorn, he's had a huge influence on bringing it into Brisbane and it's been great the way he's been able to share some insight.
"Once Blacky (Simon Black), Browny (Jonathan Brown) and Ash McGrath retired there was a little bit of a hole, it left a bit of professionalism. I wouldn't say standards dropped, but we just didn't really have a sense of direction of what was right and what was wrong any more.
"Luke has really confirmed that what we've done over the past season and a half (has us) on the right track again. He's been really assuring for us that we are making improvements."
With the departure of Tom Rockliff to Port Adelaide, Zorko will step into the vice-captain role this season and he has taken full advantage of Hodge's leadership experience.
"Something Luke does really well is he listens and absorbs all the information," Zorko said.
"I'm probably someone that likes to make a decision right away. That's one way he's been able to help me with my leadership.
"He's just invaluable and it's great to have him on board. I'm looking forward to seeing in those pressure situations how he's able to calm the group, and we can all feed off that."