on air now

‘It was probably the thing that got him on track’: Marlion Pickett’s manager says his jail stint may have been a blessing

3aw Mornings

The manager of the Richmond recruit who will make his AFL debut in tomorrow’s grand final says his troubled past has helped him get to where he is today.

Marlion Pickett will take to the field tomorrow, becoming the first footballer to debut in a grand final in 67 years.

His manager, Anthony Van Der Wielen, said he received an emotional call from Pickett yesterday delivering the news.

“Both of us were pretty emotional when he gave me the news. It wasn’t something we were expecting, it was something we were hoping for,” he told 3AW’s Tony Jones.

“He just rang up and said ‘I think I’m going to need your help’ … he started to sort of choke a little bit and I knew what was coming.

“I’ve had that phone call over the years with a lot of people ringing me to tell me they’re going to make their debut, but nothing quite like this one!”

The 27-year-old father of four, who was picked up in the mid-season draft just a few months ago, will replace injured midfielder Jack Graham tomorrow.

The new Richmond recruit has overcome a lot to get to his AFL debut.

He spent time in jail in his late teens, and his manager says that may have been a blessing in disguise.

“Obviously he wishes it didn’t happen in the first place, but it was probably the thing that got him on track,” Mr Van Der Wielen said.

“Had that not have happened, he says he’s not quite sure where his life might have gone.

“He should be really proud of everything he’s achieved and the way he’s been able to turn his life around.”

Mr Van Der Wielen said he has no doubts Pickett will perform well tomorrow.

“I think we’re a lot more nervous than Marlion is, he’s an unflappable character, he’ll just take it all in his stride tomorrow and I’m sure he won’t disappoint!”

Press PLAY below for the full interview.

SELECTION STUNNER! Richmond recruit to make his debut in the AFL grand final

Background image (at top): Quinn Rooney /Staff

3aw Mornings