Melbourne are confident they have created the perfect environment to convince livewire forward Kysaiah Pickett to extend his time at the Demons beyond this season, but they will not be rushing him to decide on his future.
The 21-year-old premiership player, who is out of contract at the end of the season, attracted Port Adelaide’s interest last season but was never leaving the Demons at the end of 2022.
Melbourne’s Kysaiah Pickett shapes as a key signing for the Demons in 2023Credit:Getty Images
However, there is sure to be renewed interest from clubs outside Victoria during the year as he contemplates where he wants to continue his career. Several list managers at other clubs have valued the low-possession matchwinner at about $600,000 a season.
Pickett, who grew up in the Western Australia wheat belt town Quairading and began boarding at Prince Alfred College in South Australia in year 11, is not expected to be distracted by focus on his future; however, the club is keen for discussions to remain low-key.
Port Adelaide do not have a first-round pick in 2023, having used it to recruit North Melbourne’s No.1 draft pick from 2021 Jason Horne-Francis, while Adelaide landed Izak Rankine during last year’s trade period.
Melbourne are well aware there will be suitors but are in open dialogue with Pickett’s management and comfortable their premiership forward is happy with coach Simon Goodwin, his teammates and the way his career has been managed. Sources close to Pickett also confirmed he loves playing with Melbourne.
His form confirms that too, as he has kicked 40 and 41 goals in the past two years respectively to play a significant role in their premiership win in 2021. They also know he is fiercely competitive and will be helping them push for a premiership in 2023 and, they hope, beyond.
The Demons would ideally love to offer Pickett a long-term deal, but discussions with management are expected to determine over time what the small forward’s preference might be in that regard.
Constant speculation around Luke Jackson’s future during 2022 was not considered productive, but the parties involved with Pickett see his circumstances as different to Jackson, who has been training well at Fremantle after returning to be near family.
Both players were first-round picks in the 2019 national, with Pickett selected at pick No.12 and Jackson at pick No.3. Both were key additions, launching Melbourne to their drought-breaking 2021 premiership.
Pickett became a tackling and goalkicking machine who could also pinch hit at centre bounces, an area the Demons excelled in during their premiership year.
Melbourne are expected to remain in premiership contention this season after exiting the 2022 finals in straight sets with losses to Sydney and the Brisbane Lions.
They have locked in key midfielders Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw on long-term deals while Brodie Grundy and Lachie Hunter were among their recruits for this season.
Keep up to date with the best AFL coverage in the country. Sign up for the Real Footy newsletter.
Most Viewed in Sport
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article