‘Frustrating’ decisions irking struggling Lions

Lions star Dayne Zorko says umpires’ reluctance to award holding-the-ball free-kicks is “frustrating” as Brisbane bids to salvage its poor season.

Last year’s beaten grand finalists suffered their sixth loss in 11 matches this season on Sunday, going down by 25 points to hoodoo team Hawthorn.

The Lions haven’t beaten the Hawks – whose most recent finals appearance was in 2018 – since 2019.

“They certainly play some really good football against us,” Zorko told SENQ Breakfast on Monday.

However, the former Lions captain also said inaccuracy was continuing to hurt Brisbane.

“Looking at the statistics after the game, it was pretty even. They kicked 15.10 and we kicked 10.15, so goal-kicking plays a big part in that (loss),” Zorko said

“In the third quarter we had 10 shots on goal for 3-7. We’ve had a massive momentum swing in that third quarter and we just couldn’t get our noses in front and apply some scoreboard pressure unfortunately.

“It seems to be a little bit of our Achilles heel at the moment, our goalkicking, and it’s cost us in a few games now.”

‘frustrating’ decisions irking struggling lions

‘Frustrating’ decisions irking struggling Lions

Zorko was also irked by the leeway seemingly being given to ball-carriers by umpires who are reluctant to give free-kicks for holding the ball offences.

It’s an issue that was also questioned by coaches Damien Hardwick (Gold Coast) and Michael Voss (Carlton) after the Blues’ win over the Suns on Saturday.

“If you watched the first quarter yesterday, I reckon you’d get a fairly good indication as to what my opinion was,” Zorko said.

“It’s really hard for me to word this without getting a $100,000 fine or even more.

“It’s really hard as a player because if you do lay the tackle and you know the person hasn’t correctly disposed of it, or you know you laid the perfect tackle and you’re waiting for the whistle to be blown but they pick up the ball and run off with it.

“We’ve been taught to stop. It’s frustrating. That’s pretty much all I can say without getting myself into trouble. It’s annoying.”

Zorko tipped a “range of clubs” to this week seek “clarification” on the matter with the AFL.

“At the same time, we don’t want to be seeing an over-reaction this weekend when every single tackle laid is (paid) holding the ball.

“We understand (the umpires) job is extremely difficult, but as players, you generally know if it’s holding the ball or not.

“I think that’s where the frustration lies with all the clubs at the moment.”

The Lions have a bye this weekend before returning to action on Friday week against the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium.

“We’ll come back … refreshed, ready to go to attack the second half of our season, which is obviously really important,” Zorko said.

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