Melbourne Demons bracing for sledging rematch after Dayne Zorko furore

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Angus Brayshaw scuffles with a Brisbane Lions opponent during their round 23 clash.
Melbourne Demons midfielder Angus Brayshaw says the team can't get sucked in by sledging against Brisbane this Friday. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Demons say they are ready for a potential re-commencement of verbal hostilites against the Brisbane Lions when they square off in Friday night's semi-final.

The two sides became embroiled in controversy late in the regular season when, amid a match filled verbal barbs from both sides, Lions captain Dayne Zorko said something to Demons defender Harrison Petty later described by AFL boss Gillon McLachlan as 'not a good look'.

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The remark left Petty in tears, with Zorko later offering a genuine apology to the Demons, who themselves were quick to put the saga behind them.

The Demons had the last laugh last time out at the Gabba, and will back themselves at the MCG given Brisbane's woeful recent record in Melbourne.

While careful not to declare verbal warfare on the Lions, Demons midfielder Angus Brayshaw said he was 'certain' there would be some niggle between the two teams.

Crucially though, he said it was incumbent on Melbourne not to become carried away.

The Western Bulldogs proved attempting to fly the flag for a teammate could backfire, as a crucial play against Fremantle cost them a goal in what was ultimately a brutal loss.

“It’s something I felt like we dealt really well with in the game, and up to three-quarter time we played strong, hard, but not reckless,” Brayshaw said when speaking to SEN.

“We didn’t overstep the line physically and blokes weren’t trying to line (Zorko) up.

“I feel like the blueprint is there for us as a group to deal with it. We are not trying to dismiss it or avoid it or undersell what (Petty) is going through, but as a group we stick together and when the ball is there to be won, you can go at it as hard and fair as you like.

“The niggle will be there I am certain, but we’ve done it before, I think we have a really good grasp as a group on how to stick together and not overstep at the mark.”

Demons mentally preapred for sledging from Brisbane Lions.

The reigning premiers were outplayed by the Swans in Friday night's qualifying final, and now with their season on the line Brayshaw was under no illusions what was at stake.

He said Demons coach Simon Goodwin would most likely address the tone of their last encounter with the Lions during the week, but added that it wouldn't be a particular topic of focus.

“Niggle is not going to win finals,” he said.

“You just have to look at the last time this popped up for us. I don’t think the boys are worrying about it too much.

“I’d be surprised if (Goodwin) didn’t touch on it at some stage this week, but we have a really clear focus on when to bring it back to so it doesn’t get out of control.”

The Demons are looking to bounce back quickly after being upstaged by the Swans in last weekend's qualifying final. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
The Demons are looking to bounce back quickly after being upstaged by the Swans in last weekend's qualifying final. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Christian Petracca completed a light session with his teammates at Gosch's Paddock on Monday morning, albeit with a slight limp and with tape around his right calf, four days out from Friday night's do-or-die clash.

He suffered a hairline fracture of his fibula and corked calf in a collision with Sydney's Lance Franklin early in last Friday's qualifying final loss and was limited throughout the game.

"I saw him this morning just then, walked past him, he's looking alright," defender Jay Lever told reporters before training on Monday.

"I think he'll have a bit of a lighter week. But he'd have to tick off a fair few things.

"For us that probably doesn't worry us that much in terms of him not training. He's done probably nearly every session all year and this time of year, maybe a little bit of a freshen up might be good for him.

"He was moving pretty well for a guy that has a broken leg. But he's pretty tough so he'll play.

"Like every other club, there's going to be a lot of injuries in finals time, not many players want to miss. You'd usually say a broken leg would only keep you out, but maybe in Trac's case it's not going to."

With AAP

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