Melbourne will be without forward Kysaiah Pickett for the Round 5 clash with Brisbane as the Tribunal elected to uphold the one-game suspension for his high bump on Adelaide midfielder Jake Soligo.

The second-quarter collision saw Pickett leave the ground in an attempt to smother a Soligo handball, with Pickett missing the ball before collecting the Crows midfield-forward's head with his right arm.

Pickett's actions have garnered a rough conduct charge by the MRO, who graded the incident as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact - resulting in a one-game ban.

If the ban is to be upheld, Pickett will miss the Demons' Round 5 clash with Brisbane on Thursday at the MCG.

This isn't the first offence by the aggressive forward, who book-ended his 2023 season with a pair of suspensions - the first being a high bump on Western Bulldogs midfielder Bailey Smith, resulting in a two-week ban.

The second was a high shepherd on Carlton captain Patrick Cripps in last year's semi-final, to which Pickett missed Opening Round this year.

So far this year, the AFL has cracked down on incidental contact to the head, despite arguments for some being a football act.

Failed appeals include Richmond's Liam Baker and St Kilda's Max King's one-week charges were upheld.

Pickett, Melbourne challenge bump charge

Here is the Tribunal's summation:

Jeff Gleeson (chair): "The only issue in this matter is the level of impact.

"Mr Pickett does not challenge the committed reportable offence of rough conduct. He does not challenge that he was careless or that made high contact.

"We find that the impact was medium and note the following matters:

"1 - Pickett approached the contest at some speed.

"2 - He left the ground.

"3 - Soligo was vulnerable having just disposed of the ball.

"4 - Pickett's arm extends to some extent at the moment of impact. We do not find it was intentional or voluntary but the relevance here is that it contributed to the force of impact.

"5 - The impact to Soligo's head was plain to see. He was knocked off his feet and immediately held his face in obvious pain or discomfort.

"6 - The contact had the potential to cause injury. A concussion or facial injury was a realistic outcome.

"7 - The Viney matter had some similarities, but Viney did not leave the ground and the angle of impact was somewhat different.

"In any event, as the guidelines make clear, we are not bound by the classification in the Viney matter and it ought not be assumed that we necessarily agree with the grading in that matter.

"The medium impact classification stands."


Here is how the hearing unfolded...

18:34: Kysaiah Pickett's one-game suspension has been upheld. He will miss Melbourne's Round 5 clash with Brisbane.

18:30: Still deliberating.

18:13: The Tribunal will now deliberate.

18:01: Anderson (Melbourne) uses an example between Jack Viney and Lachie Fogarty during last year's semi-final between Melbourne and Carlton.

Viney goes past the ball, tucks his arm in, and makes contact with his opponent's jaw, knocking Fogarty to the ground.

Viney was not suspended for any matches but was fined $5000 ($3000 early plea).

17:54: Anderson (Melbourne) argues that Pickett's hands are open to smother, but when you bump, you clench your fist.

"His hands remain open throughout the contact."

17:48: Anderson (Melbourne): "Pickett doesn't run in with force to bump and directly confront the (Soligo).

"It's only an action as a result of contesting the ball and jumping at the ball, so the consequence of that is the momentum is not going through Soligo, but the direction of the ball."

"He's actually moving a little bit away from Soligo at the point of impact.

"And the consequence of jumping up for the ball was to significantly decrease the impact of what otherwise would have been the case. So the force was less and the potential to cause injury was loss."

17:39: Hannon (AFL): "It is of course conceded by the plea of guilty, that the impact is at least low, so it exceeds the minimum threshold for a reportable offence.

"It is the combination of these factors of the force, the body positioning of player Pickett and the genuine potential to cause injury that causes the AFL to submit that this offence falls comfortably within the range of incidents properly graded as medium impact."

17:31: Anderson (Melbourne) will confer with the Demons to clarify their position.

The Demons made a complicated argument, arguing the act was not careless yet officially accepting the careless grading when agreeing to contend ONLY the "medium impact" of the charge.

17:23: Lisa Hannon (AFL) alluding to the AFL's position of Pickett's attempted smother that resulted in high contact.

17:15: Collingwood's Brayden Maynard "bump" case brought to life during the Tribunal Hearing.

AFL brought in the 'Maynard rule': "with the change for smothers meaning that when a player leaves the ground in an attempt to make a smother, the player's act will be deemed careless at a minimum "unless the player has taken all reasonable steps to avoid that high contact and/or minimise the force of that high contact (for example, by adopting a body position that minimises the force of the high contact)."

17:07: Pickett's written statement: "My intention was to catch the ball. I collided with Soligo and then followed the ball to make the next contest until the umpire blew the whistle. I had no intention of bumping Soligo, I was trying to intercept the ball in the air."

17:03: Adrian Anderson (Melbourne): Kysaiah Pickett's position is it's "not a bump, but it was a brace".

Wanting to reduce the charge for "impact" from medium to low (ultimately changing the sanction from one-game ban to a fine).

Not contesting the other elements of the charge, pleading guilty to rough conduct and high contact.

Tribunal: Jeff Gleeson (chair)
AFL Counsel:
Lisa Hannon
Melbourne Counsel: Adrian Anderson