With the 2010s coming to a close, it’s time to look back on the decade that was.
Football can be such a brutal and cruel game.
Come grand final week, team selection is always an intriguing facet of that game that builds up to the hype and excitement of grand final day on that last Saturday in September. There’s often always a hard-luck story that sees a player get dropped, or a player missing out because of injury.
However, in most cases, for every hard luck story there’s also a fantastic happy story that lifts people’s spirits, and this year Richmond produced another great unique story that has captured the imagination of many football tragics.
Richmond’s Marlion Pickett, a 27-year-old from Western Australia, was called up to play in this year’s grand final after a best on ground performance in Richmond’s VFL grand final win over Williamstown. Pickett was the side’s only inclusion into the game, however, the special part to this story is that the 27-year-old would make his debut on grand final day, something that hasn’t been done since 1952.
Pickett etched his name into footy folklore before the game had even started because of the significance of his debut and his story. Even if Pickett had have only registered one touch, his story was still remarkable and it’s one that warms the cockles of many people’s hearts.
On reflection, Pickett’s inclusion can only be described as a coaching masterclass by Damien Hardwick. The move to bring him into the side was a bold one, however it’s a risk that has paid off and unearthed a potential star for the Tigers next year.
Pickett was fantastic for the Tigers, he provided lots of run and carry and found lots of the footy. He finished in the end with 22 disposals and also added a goal to his name, which arguably produced the biggest roar of the day. Additionally, Pickett was part of a midfield that slaughtered its opposition.
In particular, it was their pressure in the midfield that led to their success. GWS had 73 turnovers for the game as a result of Richmond’s elite pressure, and Pickett was an essential ingredient to this.
Pickett has now won his second premiership for the year (2019) and almost two best on ground performances, a feat that certainly has a lovely ring to it.
The Marlion Pickett story is one that will live on for years to come. It is a beautiful grand final story that has been unearthed once again on grand final day. Pickett in one week has managed to play in two winning grand finals as well as producing nearly two best on ground performances.
Hopefully he can continue his electric form into next year for the Tigers and potentially lead them into another grand final next year. For the man to be in a jail cell in 2012 to now playing his first AFL game on the biggest stage of all, it doesn’t get much better than this.