Short AFL build-up concerns Lions captain

Having just three weeks to get ready for the AFL season’s resumption is a concern for Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko.

While the Lions midfielder was delighted to return to training under strict biosecurity rules on Monday, he admits the short timeframe before the season resumes in June comes with an increased risk of injury.

“It is a little bit of a concern to be honest,” Zorko said.

“Coming off a 12-13 week pre-season, having games, then having seven weeks off where you’re not exactly feeling the bumps and bruises, the change of direction all that sort of stuff, only having a mini pre-season, certainly worries a little bit.”

The Lions’ stellar 2019 campaign came with a largely injury-free list, and Zorko backed the club’s medical staff to ensure a similar outcome in the modified season ahead for Chris Fagan’s team.

Monday’s training run at the Gabba, where players were split into groups of eight, was replicated all across the country as the 18 AFL clubs got preparations underway ahead of the season resumption on June 11.

All players and staff must adhere to a strict set of protocols to ensure the league can resume, including twice weekly testing for COVID-19 and isolating themselves as much as possible from the wider community.

Zorko, the father of a young son, says the sacrifices are tough but worth doing if it means the competition can resume.

“The team that can accommodate and get used to those rules as quickly as possible will be the team that benefits through this period,” he said.

“It’s obviously tricky and a lot of players will certainly be seeking advice as to what they can and can’t do. I know the rules are there and pretty strict. We’re saying that if there’s any doubt, don’t do it, or ring a leader.

“It’s going to be difficult … that’s just what it is and that’s just a sacrifice we need to make to get the game up and running.

“The majority of the players certainly understand that, all the players understand that. It’s just what we have to do for now.”

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