Both Brisbane and Melbourne will enter their top-of-the-table AFL clash without their captain after Lions’ skipper Dayne Zorko was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Zorko travelled with the side on Wednesday but coach Chris Fagan said he wouldn’t feature in the Thursday blockbuster, that will be the Lions’ first game at the MCG since March 2020.
“He won’t play; he was close but best to give him a rest, give him the opportunity of a bye (last week) plus another week,” said Fagan, who hasn’t settled on his replacement.
Versatile midfielder Zorko has been hampered by various lower leg injuries in recent seasons but Fagan is positive as they eye a deep finals run this September.
“Yesterday at training, the running he was doing, I thought he was moving as well as I’ve seen him move,” the coach said.
“I was pretty buoyed by that.
“It may not hurt him to have just this little break, then launch for the last eight games of the (regular) season.
“That’s what I’m hoping for and on the evidence I saw yesterday that could well be the case.”
It comes after Melbourne captain and ruckman Max Gawn hurt his ankle last week during a third-straight loss that allowed Brisbane to jump ahead of them into top spot.
Harris Andrews will captain Brisbane as they look to end a run of nine straight losses at the venue.