Published by Staff Writers, 19 August on foxsports.com.au
IT might be one of the less well-publicised rivalries, but on Saturday night, the clash of temperaments between Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko and Gold Coast tagger Touk Miller reared its head once again.
Zorko infamously refused to shake Miller’s hand last time the two faced off – and during the week, the young Sun said he believed he had the mental edge over the Lions skipper.
The pair were involved in a number of heated confrontations throughout the match as Miller held Zorko to just 17 disposals.
On the full-time siren, with the Lions prevailing by four points, Zorko got in Miller’s face and unleashed a torrent of abuse in the young Sun’s direction.
In bizarre scenes, he then stuck his hand out at Miller – who took it – before continuing his dialogue and following the young Sun around with his hand still out.
Miller did shake Zorko’s hand before moving on, but it remained a bizarre exchange from a club captain.
Western Bulldogs great Brad Johnson described Zorko’s conduct as “a disaster” and said he wouldn’t have blamed Miller if he chose not to shake hands after the incident.
“It’s a disaster, it’s a disaster from Zorko. If I was Miller, you know what? I wouldn’t have shaken his hand after that,” Johnson said on Fox Footy’s Saturday Stretch.
At the end of the game you have a battle, look, well played, bad luck , done. But the way that he verballed him – and you can read what he says, Zorko – I would have just said ‘get stuffed mate, see you later.’
“You’re not obliged to (shake hands). He (Zorko) leaves it there so he (Miller) has to, he has to put his hand out. But he could’ve just shoved him away and said ‘nah, don’t want anything to do with you mate, see you next time we play.’
“And look at him coming back here – it’s just no good. Miller’s over him by this stage, he’s just won the game, shake it once, go and celebrate with your teammates.”
Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton said he believed Brisbane coach Chris Fagan would pull Zorko into line over his conduct.
“His coach will tell him off for that, no doubt. No doubt whatsoever. Fages will tell him off for that – he’ll pull him into line.”
Zorko downplayed the incident after the game, saying Miller had played well on him again.
“I just said thanks for the game mate and shook his hand,” he told Fox Footy post-match.
“He did really well again tonight so good stuff. Fortunately this time we were able to turn the tables and got a reall hard-fought win.”
HERE’S HOW THE GAME PLAYED OUT, VIA AAP
Brisbane narrowly prevailed over the Gold Coast with Queensland’s AFL rivalry continuing to grow in the four-point win.
The Lions rallied from nine points down in the final term to pip the Suns 10.18 (78) to 11.8 (74) and overturn a five-point QClash loss earlier this season in another fiery contest.
The lead fluctuated in a sloppy but hard-fought second half as the young Suns, led by Alex Sexton (four goals) and Brayden Fiorini (32 disposals) threatened a boilover.
But Brisbane withstood the pressure and did enough in the final 20 minutes to consign the Suns to a seventh loss and winless campaign at Metricon Stadium this season.
The derby fire was sparked on Thursday when Brisbane defender Nick Robertson said the Suns were soft.
And, after a bit of general niggle, that fire erupted in the second term when Sean Lemmens collected young Lion Brandon Starcevich with a high spoil. Players came from all corners in front of 11,907 fans, with Dayne Zorko sent flying in the chaos by his chief antagonist Touk Miller.
The Suns had edged back into the contest prior to the incident, helped by the first-quarter exit of Lions defender Alex Witherden (hamstring). Sexton scored from both pockets before Jack Bowes also threaded the needle as the young Suns midfield held their own.
Brisbane’s inaccuracy cost them, with Eric Hipwood missing his first five shots at goal and Daniel Rich missing from in front before the Suns hit the lead for the first time in the third term.
Cameron Rayner did his best to improve their ratio with a booming 60m effort while Luke Hodge was a brick wall with five first-quarter intercepts. Brisbane took an early 20-point lead but the Suns lifted their workrate and took their chances as the game grew in intensity.
Gold Coast got within six at the main break and had the lead soon after the restart.
Harris Andrews’ goal – the Lions’ sole major for the quarter – put the Lions in front by three after a sloppy third term.
Gold Coast, again through some Sexton brilliance, regained the lead before the Lions made the most of their luck to land the final blow.
First Allen Christensen kicked straight after being gifted a 50m penalty, before a stray kick off the deck went straight to an unmarked Dayne Beams (38 touches) for what would be the decisive goal.