Brisbane Lions captain Dayne Zorko unhappy with ‘poor’ defensive performance

Brisbane Lions captain Dayne Zorko says Brisbane’s shock weekend loss to Hawthorn was the “reality check” his high-flying team needed.

The second-placed Lions were beaten for just the second time this season in losing by five points to the Hawks in Launceston,

While the Hawks are always tough to beat at UTAS Stadium, it was the manner of Brisbane’s loss that disappointed Zorko, with the Lions conceding more than 100 points for the first time this season.

“We were really poor defensively,” Brisbane’s skipper said.

“We were really disappointed with the way Hawthorn were able to get through us and that was from a lack of being able to react on turnovers.

“Credit to Hawthorn, I thought they played exceptionally well. They play the ground really well, and we were fully aware of their capabilities.

“They got great momentum runs and we weren’t able to match them and when we did, it was a bit too late.

“Well done to them, and (it was) a good reality check for us.”

Having received a timely wake-up call, the Lions intend on bouncing back on Saturday when they host the GWS Giants at the Gabba.

Under caretaker Mark McVeigh, the Giants impressed last Sunday in thrashing the last-placed West Coast Eagles by 52 points.

“They’ve got a new coach so they’re trying different things at the moment, which was really noticeable against West Coast on the weekend,” Zorko said.

“They seemed to kick their way through West Coast pretty easily, wo we need to be fully aware of that, but if we can bring our pressure game and attack on the contest like we have all year, hopefully we can counter that.”

Zorko said it would be a matter of “wait and see” if midfielder Hugh McCluggage played this weekend after hurting his hamstring against Hawthorn.

“These little niggles happen to him – Hughie’s renowned for it,” he said.

“He’s done everything right over the pre-season to give his body the best chance.

“He’ll probably train on Thursday and see how he pulls up after that.

“He deserves right up the game day to get the best opportunity to play.”

Zorko said tall forward Dan McStay, who has missed Brisbane’s past two matches with an ankle injury, could return this weekend.

“He seems pretty optimistic … but we certainly won’t be taking any risks with him,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Lions’ popularity continues to grow, with the club breaking its membership record for the second year in a row, having reached 40,453 members so far in 2022.

“We want to say a huge thank you to all our fans that have got behind us,” Zorko said.

Lions CEO Greg Swann said: “We can always count on the maroon, blue and gold army to show up and get along to games whenever possible.”