AFL YOUTH FIRE UP ZORKO

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - AN­DREW HAMIL­TON

DAYNE Zorko says the emer­gence of a new gen­er­a­tion of tal­ented young Lions has given him re­newed hope the club can achieve success in his re­main­ing time in the game.

Eric Hip­wood, Alex Wither­den and Dan McS­tay were in­flu­en­tial in the Lions’ come­from- be­hind eight- point vic­tory over Essendon while Zorko also bounced back from a poor show­ing the pre­vi­ous week to be Bris­bane’s lead­ing ball winner.

The 28- year- old sees green shoots spring­ing up ev­ery­where and says the se­nior play­ers were putting ef­fort into the year one to three play­ers, know­ing that fast- track­ing their devel­op­ment can change a club’s for­tunes quickly.

“It cer­tainly can, we’ve seen that with the Western Bull­dogs and Port Ade­laide re­cently,’’ he said. “The young kids are de­vel­op­ing re­ally quickly. The older guys are help­ing that process and the more we can keep do­ing that, hope­fully we can climb up that lad­der a bit quicker than what is pre­dicted.’’

Zorko has won the Lions’ past two club cham­pi­onships but has no hes­i­ta­tion say­ing he is en­joy­ing his foot­ball this year more than ever.

While it has been the job of the older play­ers to carry the side, he says younger play­ers were now mak­ing valu­able con­tri­bu­tions and in­fect­ing the vet­er­ans with their en­ergy.

“It helps, there is no doubt about it,’’ he said.

“When you get older you know what you need to do ev­ery week and what you need to bring for the game.

“But it is so im­por­tant the young kids bring the en­ergy and we are bounc­ing off that en­ergy, it is bub­bling over.

“And you have prob­a­bly no­ticed in our worst losses the young kids haven’t brought that en­ergy and it is im­por­tant for them to play in wins like the one over Essendon.’’

BRIGHT FU­TURE: Eric Hip­wood, of the Lions, com­petes for the ball against Essendon’s Mark Bag­u­ley ( and Michael Hart­ley at Eti­had Sta­dium on Sun­day. Pic­ture: GETTY IM­AGES

left)

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