Kysaiah Pickett late hit and bump on Jake Soligo, Melbourne Demons vs Adelaide Crows, Gather Round, AFL Tribunal

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Melbourne has ensured Adelaide remains winless so far in 2024, pulling off a 15-point win in the league’s first game of Gather Round on Thursday night.

But the Demons’ fourth consecutive victory may come at a cost, with small forward Kysaiah Pickett in hot water for a late bump on Crow Jake Soligo.

Pickett jumped up and hit Soligo in the side of the head, giving away a free kick in the second term, after the Crow disposed of the ball via a handball.

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Soligo did see out the match, but the Demons forward may come under strife for the bump, with calls for him to be rubbed out for at least a week under the league’s new rules.

“It’s just a dumb thing to do,” King said on Fox Footy at half time.

“He’s reaching for contact … and then the onus is on you to miss the head.

“He’s in trouble.”

The bump, although not as detrimental, reminded St Kilda great Leigh Montagna of Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard’s bump on Angus Brayshaw in 2023, which sadly was the last game the Melbourne midfielder would play in his short career.

The league made a change to the smother rule in response to the Pies premiership player’s controversial bump on Brayshaw during the 2023 qualifying final.

At the time, Maynard was cleared of any wrongdoing and spared a season-ending suspension.

Now, the league’s ruling states that if a player chooses to leave the ground to smother the ball, ”any reasonably foreseeable high contact with an opponent that is at least “low impact” will be deemed to be “careless’ at a minimum”, unless the player has attempted to “minimise the force” of high contact.

“It doesn’t look good on that angle,” Montagna added on Fox.

“It’s the Maynard rule, isn’t it? He jumped to smother and then didn’t avoid the contact. Might be in trouble.”

Pickett was suspended last year for two weeks after a bump on Bulldog Bailey Smith.

Apart from the goal sneak’s blip, the Demons’ victory, their second in Adelaide in two weeks, is a huge confidence boost heading into their match against Brisbane next Thursday night.

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