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Harry Petty crying during Melbourne Demons win over Brisbane Lions

Lions captain Dayne Zorko has apologized to Harry Petty for his on-field comments that left the young Demon in tears, saying he “needs to be a better leader”.

The AFL began investigating the incident during Melbourne’s win over Brisbane on Friday night.

An emotional Petty was comforted by Melbourne coaches, officials and players during a scuffle with Zorko at three-quarter time.

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of Herald Sun The AFL reported on Saturday that Zorko had contacted Melbourne as part of an investigation after he made disparaging comments about a member of Petty’s family.

Demons are believed to have asked to respect Petty’s privacy in the matter.

Channel 7’s Tom Brown said on Saturday the Demons were “comfortable” with the way the situation was after Zorko’s apology and did not intend to pursue it further, but the AFL was still investigating the matter.

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Zorko in Hot Water by Petty Incident | 00:43

The team’s key defender Steven May was first seen putting his arm around Petty before Mark Williams, Troy Chaplin and Simon Goodwin all joined the South Australian.

Demons football boss Alan Richardson then brought on Lions counterpart Danny Daly at the last change to alert Brisbane to Petty’s concerns.

Petty started the final quarter on the bench but returned in the fourth quarter to play the rest of the game. He is then seen having a long conversation with Zorko after the match.

Fox Footy showed footage of Petty meeting Zorko at three-quarter time.

In a statement on Saturday, Zorko Daly said he had been advised by senior Lions officials, including chief executive Greg Swann, chairman Andrew Wellington and coach Chris Fagan.

“They apologized to Harrison for the inappropriate comments I made to him last night,” Zorko said.

“I regret my actions and take full responsibility for the harm caused to Harrison, his family and the Melbourne Football Club.

“In hindsight, I understand that I need to be a better leader and I have spoken to the club which has reinforced this.”

Daly says he’ll apologize to the demons, and Zorko apologizes to Petty.

Goodwin said the matter would be referred to the AFL, but praised the Lions for their handling of the difficult situation.

“‘Petes’ was upset because he thought he had heard something inappropriate about a family member,” Goodwin told reporters.

“We’ve spoken to Brisbane and obviously the AFL will be looking. That’s the details we’re giving now and we’ll only hand it over to the AFL.

Melbourne Devils Press Release | 04:57

“Petes was a little emotional at three quarters. He went away and got himself back into the game.

Brisbane are very apologetic to us and this is a football club. They are a very respectable, humble football club and we take them at their word.

Asked how Petty was feeling, Goodwin said, “I’m fine. It’s all good.

“I thought the last quarter was really strong.”

Lions coach Chris Fagan said Brisbane would investigate the incident and expected the AFL to look into the flashpoint.

“I don’t know much about it. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the players.

“Obviously something happened, I’m made aware of that and there’s no doubt we’ll be investigating ourselves to find out what happened and I expect the AFL will do the same,” he said.

“I can’t shed any light on it because I’m done with it and I don’t want to do that… I’m worried about any of our players going through something like that. But I won’t judge him yet because I don’t know enough about him.

May sees Petty get angry and says it “gets on his nerves.”

Brisbane Lions Press Release | 02:53

“I don’t know exactly what was said, but Petes wasn’t what he used to be. “If you know him, he’s a tough country boy, he doesn’t get angry,” May said AFL Nation.

“I had a chat with Zorko at the end and told him everything you said, you crossed the line. He was very sorry but told me he didn’t say it, I think there was a misunderstanding.

There’s a line you can’t cross on the field.

Asked if he knew what happened, Demons skipper Max Gawn told Channel 7: “I wasn’t there. There were few words. All I saw was my teammate in tears.

“It got us going a little bit and we all wanted to get out in the last quarter, but there are a lot of big fish to fry in the next few weeks.

“I think they fixed it, there was a few handshakes so I hope all is well.”

Fox Football’s Gary Lyons added: “It’s unusual to see someone as angry as Harrison, but we don’t know the circumstances.”

Zorko was at the center of a wide range of in-game brawls and off-field incidents.

Asked if the Deuce had gone into the game with a plan to target Zorko, Norm Smith Medalist Christian Petracca told Fox Footy after the game: “No, that was just something that happened in the game.

Harry Petty and Eric Hipwood. Picture: Chris HydeSource: Getty Images

“I think there are only two competitive teams playing all night. It was a fiery game, we wanted to bring the heat from the start. In the second half I felt that we were much more in control, after the first half it was set up with him because of the attack in the foot area, which really set us up. Defensively I thought it was unbelievable and offensively everything was going because when you put the work in on defense everything just opens up for you.

“We knew going in it was going to be a hostile environment and we knew they would bring the attack. The last time we played them we did a number at the MCG, so it was important for us to control that attack.

Sometimes as midfielders you go into attack and overdo it… For us there was only one ball carrier, trust the player and the rest take care of their other men.

Fagan defended Zorko’s leadership after the game.

Sometimes he did (seems upset and angry). “He loves our football club very much and he’s saddened by what’s happening and that could cause some frustration,” Fagan said.

“I want to have some vision to get a real feel for it because tonight his leadership might not be up to par… he’s been good for us over the last four or five years so it’s not me.” We’re going to catch him in a performance that’s below par.

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