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'Stupidest one yet': Verdict in for Pickett as Dees' bizarre Tribunal case savaged

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9th April, 2024
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Melbourne forward Kysaiah Pickett’s one match suspension for a high bump on Adelaide’s Jake Soligo has been upheld by the AFL Tribunal.

The Demons attempted to argue the impact, which was graded as ‘medium’ by Match Review Officer Michael Christian, should instead be considered ‘low’, with Pickett claiming in a written statement that his ‘intention was to catch the ball’.

” I collided with Soligo and then followed the ball to make the next contest until the umpire blew the whistle,” Pickett wrote.

“I had no intention of bumping Soligo. I was trying to intercept the ball in the air.”

The Dees also argued the collision should not be considered a bump or an attempt to smother, but rather as rough conduct, with the latter now banned under the ‘Maynard rule’ following Collingwood’s Brayden Maynard’s successful overturning of a two-match ban for a smother that concussed Demon Angus Brayshaw in the 2023 qualifying final.

Therefore, according to Demons counsel Adrian Anderson, Christian’s impact grading should not have been upgraded to ‘medium’ based on potential to cause injury.

Bizarrely, Anderson simultaneously claimed that the club did not believe Pickett’s act was careless while accepting Christian’s grading of the Soligo incident as ‘careless conduct’ – the odd argument leading to Fox Footy reporter and Tribunal expert David Zita to claim their case was ‘the stupidest one yet’.

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After upholding the one-match ban, the Tribunal stated Pickett’s decision to leave the ground, as well as the impact to Soligo’s head being ‘plain to see’, were grounds for the suspension.

“The contact had the potential to cause injury. A concussion or facial injury was a realistically possible outcome,” the statement reads.

Pickett will miss the Dees’ clash with Brisbane at the MCG on Thursday night as a result of the unsuccessful challenge.

It is the third time in 13 months the star forward has been suspended, having earned a two-match ban for a high bump on Western Bulldog Bailey Smith in Round 1, 2023, while also receiving a week’s suspension for a high bump on Carlton captain Patrick Cripps in that year’s semi final, which saw him miss the Dees’ 2024 Opening Round loss to Sydney.

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