From a prison cell to the MCG: Richmond rookie closes his remarkable turn in life, as he is ready to make his debut in the Grand Final
- Marlion Pickett, 27, was picked in May for mid-season tigers
- He was called up for the final after Jack Graham was excluded with an injury
- The performance represents a remarkable reversal for ex-con Pickett
- He spent two years in prison for burglary from 2010 when he was a teenager
A rookie AFL player will make his debut on the biggest podium in the sport, with a remarkable turnaround in life after two years in prison.
Marlion Pickett, 27, plays his first AFL game for the Richmond Tigers in Saturday's grand finale against the Greater Western Sydney Giants at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.
Pickett will be the first player to debut in the Grand Final since Collingwood & Keith Batchelor in 1952.
He was picked for the mid-season Tigers in May and called for the final after Jack Graham was excluded with a shoulder injury.
The achievement marks a remarkable turnaround for Pickett, who spent two years in Wooroloo prison for burglary since he was 18 years old.
Marlion Pickett, 27, will be the first man to debut in the biggest sport match since Collingwood & Keith Batchelor in 1952
Pickett, who has tattooed his last name on his neck, said he squeezed himself & # 39; after he was called
Pickett, who used to play for WAFL club South Fremantle and tattooed his surname on his neck, said he squeezed himself & # 39; after he was summoned.
& # 39; I didn't think my debut would come that early, but it is and I take it with both hands, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; Wherever I play, I will give everything and leave everything behind. & # 39;
Pickett said his selection was a & # 39; dream & # 39; and meant a lot to his family.
& # 39; I never gave up on my dreams.
& # 39; It's a big achievement. Not only for me, but also for my family. My family has been traveling with me through thick and thin. This means a lot. & # 39;
Pickett, who has four children with his wife Jessica, said his parents are flying from Perth for the competition.
& # 39; My father is afraid of jumping on airplanes. He faces his fears, I think I face mine, & he said.
& # 39; I just like to do the team thing. If that means I have to deal with it, chase it, not touch it for fifteen minutes, that's all good for me.
Picket (second from the right) warms up with teammates including Dustin Martin (center) before training on Friday morning
He was picked for the Tigers in mid-season in May after Jack Graham was excluded with a shoulder injury
Pickett, from Manjimup, WA, said the prison was difficult and helped him get straight and narrow again.
& # 39; It was difficult but it was a learning curve. If I hadn't gone in there, I might have had more problems & # 39 ;, he told the Herald Sun..
& # 39; I have been honest with clubs. The past is the past and I cannot change what I have done, but I can change who I have become. & # 39;
He said his brother was in the same prison and told him you shouldn't be here.
Pickett played football in prison and won & # 39; best and fairest & # 39; player for his prison side.
Sitting behind bars, his first son, Marlion Jr., became one and his second son, Latrell, was born.
When he was released, he joined the South Fremantle WAFL reserves.
Assistant coach Justin Leppitsch said Pickett has sufficient experience to handle the pressure of a grand finale.
& # 39; Most of us would crumble, since you are only recruited in mid-season, your first match and this is the opportunity, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; But our recruiters believe that he has often done this type of thing during his football career. & # 39;
Pickett, who used to play for WAFL club South Fremantle, said he squeezed himself & # 39; after he was called
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) news (t) afl (t) melbourne