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Every post a winner for new Blue Pickett

Tony De Bolfo, Carlton Media  March 14, 2017 4:14 PM

Pickett ready to build on first hit-out Carlton Media spoke to Jarrod Pickett as the boys continue preparations for this week's JLT match against St Kilda.

Prominently displayed on Jarrod Pickett’s inner right forearm is the tattoo of a lion’s head – the legacy of his love for the king of the jungle and his birth back in ’96 under the star sign of Leo. 

However, it’s the left foot that’s captured more of Pickett’s attention of late. For the better part of six months since an opponent trod on it in the second quarter of a reserve grade match back in April, the hoof had given him grief. 

“I’d just taken a mark when an opposition player came down and landed on it,” Pickett recalled.

“I went back to kick the ball, but I just couldn’t run. It was an odd injury and it was a bad injury as well.”

Such was the extent of the ligament damage that Pickett, then on GWS’s books, took time to rediscover his running pattern. As he said: “I was trying to get my motion back, but it was pretty difficult to run again”.

The Giants had of course invested heavily in Pickett, as a first-round selection (pick 4 of the 2014 national draft), and while Carlton was mindful of the player’s physical setback it knew what it was getting when it completed the dream deal that also landed Caleb Marchbank.

Thankfully, with the support of the Club’s medical fraternity, he’s now over it.

“I’ve been monitored and my training was modified through the start of the pre-season as I tried to build my fitness up and strengthen my foot,” Pickett said prior to a training session at the club this week.

“It was just a matter of getting some form in and (against Fremantle) the foot felt good. It was good to take a few marks and kick a few goals. It’s all good now.”

Last Friday night, on the vast expanses of Domain Stadium against Fremantle, Pickett danced - pushing his case for an opening round call-up with a three-goal haul up front.

 

The West Australian-born Pickett, it must be said, has truly warmed to his new surroundings. Though he understands he is now part of the fabric of a club steeped in tradition, he appreciates that he is also part of a playing contingent largely bereft of games and experience. It’s why he and his partner of three years, Tahlia, appreciate the opportunity Carlton presents in football’s traditional heartland.

“I still had one year to run (at GWS) but thought there was a better opportunity over here,” Pickett said. “Carlton is obviously a good club, I wanted to play for a Melbourne club in the home of footy also, and me and the missus wanted to experience a different lifestyle.”

The presence of fellow Indigenous footballers Liam Jones, Kym Lebois (with whom Pickett boarded through the first month) and Sam Petrevski-Seton cannot be underestimated in terms of Pickett’s smooth transition at Carlton, nor the guidance of Andrew Walker in his capacity as development and integration coach.

AFL 2017 JLT Community Series - Fremantle v Carlton
Jarrod Pickett pictured during his three-goal haul against the Dockers. (Photo: AFL Media)

“When I first got here and because of my foot injury I needed to lose a little bit of weight, so I spent a bit of time with him (Walker) in that altitude room doing bike session after bike session,” Pickett said.

“He’s the Indigenous mentor, he knows a lot about the game and he’s easy to talk to. He’s helped me with everything including training and diet, and he even took me to Echuca to go fishing. We didn’t catch anything, but he and I are pretty close now.”

For the player who genuinely feels like he’s a new recruit, Pickett is truly upbeat about the season ahead. In taking to the field for Carlton, he goes in armed with an impeccable football pedigree, with Derek Kickett, Byron Pickett and Leon Davis all part of the clan.

“Derek is my Mum’s first cousin and I’ve met him a few times, but haven’t had much to do with him. I watched Byron play all my life, but as he obviously grew up in Adelaide I haven’t met him yet,” Pickett said.

“I’ve had a fair bit to do with Leon, particularly in my first season after the draft. He saw me playing when I was growing up and he knows what I’m capable of, so his advice to me has always been ‘Just back yourself, take the game on, play footy and have fun’.”

Pickett will represent Carlton in the No.33 worn with distinction by four premiership players of the past – Ritchie Green, Paul Hurst, Peter McConville and Matthew Hogg – and yet it’s Hawthorn’s current keeper of the number who so influenced Pickett’s thinking.

As he declared: “I had a choice of number and I picked 33 because I love Cyril”.

In closing out the Jarrod Pickett story, it’s worth noting the following astrological prediction for those like him born a Leo. The prediction relates to Tuesday, March 14, when this interview was conducted, and it read as follows;

“The Moon-Jupiter conjunction makes this a good time to initiate new projects or bring about changes in one’s lifestyle - it's a good time for starting important activities, especially short-term ones”.

“Enjoy life and share the joy with everybody around.”

That’s Pickett with a capital “p”.