BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan is confident that Dayne Zorko will play in round one against Port Adelaide and has no concerns over his skipper's interrupted pre-season.
Zorko underwent a small procedure on his ankle last week and will sit out Friday's practice match against Adelaide and the following week's hitout against the Western Bulldogs.
The five-time best and fairest winner played just one half of footy in the Lions' four intraclubs as he was nursed through the pre-season.
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Zorko returned to running on Wednesday and Fagan said his absence in the pre-season matches was precautionary.
"The main thing is the operation itself was very minor, but there's just the wound healing, so you've got to watch out for infection," he said.
"That's why we've been careful to not run him too quickly.
"He'll ramp up more next week. I don't think he'll play against the Bulldogs.
"We'll have our own little hitout the week before round one, which I think he'll play and he'll be right for round one.
"That's the plan for him."
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Zorko recently turned 33 and is showing no sign of slowing down, winning his fifth Merrett-Murray Medal last year following another brilliant campaign.
Fagan said Zorko's body of work holds him in good stead to be full of run for the start of the season.
"He's got 10 years behind him, so he's got this great core of work he's done," he said.
"I've found over the years that the older guys … don't necessarily need as much prep over the pre-season because they've got that base.
"He'll have a three-week prep coming into round one, which, on the back of all the other stuff he's done, I think he'll be fine."
Fagan said he was excited about playing the Crows on Friday, particularly re-integrating Cam Rayner into his team after the former No.1 draft pick missed all of 2021 with a ruptured ACL.
"His form in the practice games, I'll be honest has surprised me," he said.
"Sometimes after 12 months out you can be a bit scratchy, but it appears to me as if he couldn't wait for the opportunity to play again.
"His energy and vibrancy around training, you don't realise how much you miss it until he's back. It's good to have him."