Dayne Zorko hits out as AFL storm erupts over Noah Answerth act towards Harrison Petty

The Brisbane Lions veteran has criticised his own teammate.

Dayne Zorko has condemned teammate Noah Answerth for re-igniting the AFL controversy around his ugly incident with Harrison Petty from two years ago. The Brisbane Lions scored a brilliant 22-point win over the Melbourne Demons on Thursday night, but it was soured after Answerth was caught mocking Petty late in the game.

Answerth could be seen doing a 'crying' gesture towards Petty, referencing the fact he burst into tears on the field during a game in 2022 after a personal sledge from Zorko. The sledge was extremely personal in nature and was reportedly related to a family member of Petty, leaving him in tears.

Dayne Zorko, Noah Answerth and Harrison Petty.
Dayne Zorko has criticised Noah Answerth for sledging Harrison Petty. Image: Getty/Fox Footy

Zorko later apologised for the sledge (which came about after he was also sledged by the Demons), and the saga was seemingly put to bed. But Answerth dragged it all back into the spotlight on Thursday night by mocking Petty about it.

“Is this Answerth, with the history that’s gone on between these guys ... crybaby?” commentator Brian Taylor asked on Channel 7. “Players don’t forget, do they?” Hawthorn champion Jason Dunstall said on Fox Footy: “I have no idea why you would go down that path.”

Dayne Zorko criticises Lions teammate Noah Answerth

Speaking after the game, Zorko was critical of his teammate. The Lions veteran, who was booed by Demons supporters every time he touched the ball on Thursday night, said he wasn't aware of the incident but wasn't overly impressed.

"I'll probably go have a word to him, that's obviously not the way we want to win," the 35-year-old former captain told ABC Radio. "Heat of the moment, stuff happens. I'm sure he'd have fixed it up after the game."

Noah Answerth, pictured here mocking Harrison Petty for crying on the field in 2022.
Noah Answerth was caught mocking Harrison Petty for crying on the field in 2022. Image: Fox Footy


Melbourne defender Jake Lever was also unhappy, telling Channel 7: "He had a tough time up there a few years ago and as a player, you don't know what others are going through. I think footy's cleaned up that sort of act."

Demons coach Simon Goodwin said he also wasn't aware of the incident and was unwilling to offer his opinion. "I didn't see it, what happened? Probably ask Fages (Lions coach Chris Fagan) when he comes in, that's up to them," Goodwin said. Fagan later said: "Got to be really careful on that sort of thing so I'll let that one through to the keeper, if that's OK."

Dayne Zorko and Harrison Petty.
Dayne Zorko shakes hands with Harrison Petty after Thursday night's game.

AFL world rips Noah Answerth over Harrison Petty incident

The majority of the AFL world was quick to condemn Answerth. Reporter Mark Gottlieb wrote on social media: "This is a terrible look from Answerth. I bet there’s a lot of people at the Lions who are nooooot gonna be happy they have to talk about all this crap again. It was dead and buried. Dragging it up is dumb."

Fellow journalist Jon Ralph added: "Zorko apologised for the initial sledge regarding Petty’s mother in 2022, said he needed to be a better leader. The Demons had sledged Zorko too that night. Then Linc McCarthy mocked Petty for his tears late in 2022. Now Answerth. Why drag yourself into it with the win sealed?"