Melbourne forward Kysaiah Pickett will miss the start of the 2024 season after drawing the ire of the AFL's Match Review Officer for committing a high bump on Carlton captain Patrick Cripps last Friday night.
The Demons bowed out of the finals in straight sets for the second successive season, falling to the Blues in Friday night's semi-final thriller by two points at the MCG.
Adding insult to injury, Pickett was handed a one-match ban for his high hit on Patrick Cripps, meaning he'll miss Melbourne's 2024 Round 1 bout after the club decided to accept the sanction. Pickett was also fined for a separate strike on Carlton defender Mitch McGovern in the first term, a charge that was also accepted by the Demons.
During the second quarter on Friday night, Pickett elected to bump Cripps; leaving the ground and making substantial contact as he led with his shoulder.
While the majority of contact went to Cripps' chest, Carlton's embattled skipper bled from his nose and was forced to momentarily exit the field.
Cripps didn't appear to undergo a Head Injury Assessment, however, as he swiftly re-entered the game and was able to play out the rest of the match.
The MRO graded Pickett's actions as careless conduct, medium impact, and high contact, resulting in the single-game ban.
"As soon as you opt to bump a player and you get him high, they're definitely going to look at it."
— 7AFL (@7AFL) September 15, 2023
It's not the first time the Demons' dynamo has found himself in hot water with the MRO for a high bump.
Meanwhile, Pickett's teammate Tom Sparrow has accepted a fine after he slung Carlton's Sam Walsh into the boundary-line fencing during the fourth quarter. A free kick was paid against Sparrow for the act.
There were no Blues who found themselves in the MRO's firing line this week, with Carlton expected to welcome back Jack Martin for this weekend's preliminary final against Brisbane after serving a one-game suspension for a hit on Sydney's Nick Blakey during last week's elimination final.