Brisbane Lions captain Dayne Zorko says the players have “wrapped their arms around” coach Chris Fagan after he stepped away from the club pending an investigation into allegations of historical racism while at Hawthorn.
Fagan will miss Brisbane’s best and fairest count after taking a leave of absence, with club officials throwing their support behind the 61-year-old coach who has vehemently denied the accusations.
The AFL is still assembling an independent panel to investigate the shocking claims made by former First Nations Hawthorn players and their partners in a report by the ABC last week.
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On Sunday, Lions chairman Andrew Wellington said in a statement the club would “stand by” Fagan and Zorko repeated that on Tuesday.
“Obviously, I agree with the club’s statement 100 per cent,” Zorko told SEN in Brisbane.
“We’ll obviously wrap our arms around Fages and all the Indigenous boys as well. We’re a really big family club and that’s something we’ve preached ever since Fages got to the club.
“He’s been a key force and driver in all of that. I can’t really comment on that too much, but all I can say is we’ve wrapped our arms around everyone and got the full support of everyone at the club.
“We’ll let the process run its course and hopefully it’s all over and done with soon enough and Fages can come back and assume his role at the club.”
Several other Lions players have spoken out in support of Fagan, who has been revered as a father figure since taking over in 2017.
Fagan revealed on Tuesday that he had retained the services of Clayton Utz lawyers, with barristers Liam Kelly KC and David Turner to act on his behalf in the AFL’s investigation.
The process could drag on for months and severely impact the pre-seasons of both the Lions and North Melbourne, where Clarkson was set to start his new coaching role.
It was also revealed on Tuesday Zorko had signed a one-year contract extension, locking him in for a 12th season at the club.