Welcome to the Tigers Marlion Pickett!

Fighting Fury

Tiger Army
Jul 17, 2003
1,981
116
Plenty could have stopped him. Once drafted by Richmond, his path to an historic debut was neither linear nor smooth. After his famous first goal in the third quarter of the grand final, in front of a televised audience of 2.94 million, you might remember him ambling forward with the barest smile on his face, raising one hand in the air. He wasn’t calling attention to his goal – he was dedicating it to loved ones, gone too soon. “I don’t really celebrate goals much,” he told me later. “I pointed to the sky, that was for the hard times, and the family me and Jess have lost along the journey. The celebration was for them.”
Pickett’s first months in Melbourne were marred by tragedy. Early on while he was training, close relative Darryl Walley – a man who’d been supportive of him as a child – passed away, succumbing to emphysema. Pickett flew back to Perth for the funeral in June. He flew back again a month later, in July, for the funeral of a mate who had died of a drug overdose. While he was there, grieving that loss, his friend and former cellmate Sam Nannup – brother to his partner Jess, uncle to his four children – took his own life, having only left prison a few weeks earlier. Pickett flew back again for that funeral on August 22 – three burials in three months.
“That was a lot of stress. Hard times for the missus and me,” is how Pickett describes it. Yet he returned to Richmond alone each time, to keep training in the wind and rain, while Jess remained in Perth with the kids, supporting her extended family. “I just tried to keep the family stuff aside, keep it away from football,” says Pickett. “But it was hard ringing up the missus. Real hard. I couldn’t do anything for her.”
Pickett says he did what had to be done to find his groove in the chaos. This is what he does, too, on the field. When he can’t gather the ball, he says, he focuses on tackles. “I try not to drop my head too much when it’s not going our way. I just focus on the little things, until it clicks. When I’m playing good footy, I’m happy.”
Thursfield knows all this – the recruiter even flew to Perth with Pickett for one of the funerals, so that someone from the club would be by his side – and he gets a little teary now. He lives in the same Thornbury neighbourhood as Pickett, and drives him to training most days. They’ve developed a clear bond. “We’re family for him now,” says Thursfield. “I don’t want to get too emotional, but he’s had a big impact on my life – in three months. Just seeing where he’s from, and the strength he has, to do what he’s doing for his family. I love the man. I really do.”
Once the big game was over and all the interviews done, the Tigers scattered to the four winds, as players do when the off-season beckons. You can find most of them on Instagram. Forward Tom Lynch at a cafe in Bali. Backman Alex Rance at Yosemite National Park in California. Nick Vlastuin kiteboarding in Indonesia. Sydney Stack winning a dance contest in Thailand.
Pickett, before the first long night of post-match celebrations had even really begun, went home early. His mother, Angela, and father, Thomas, had flown across for the grand final, his dad confined to a wheelchair owing to crippling emphysema, and he wanted to share the moment with them. Within a week, he’d quietly signed a new one-year deal with the club, staying in Melbourne and settling his four children and partner into their new surrounds. “Footy and family,” says his manager. “That’s all he wants in his life.”
Van Der Wielen has kept almost all media at bay during the post-season, too, not just because his client is looking for a sense of quiet comfort, but on behalf of Jess. “She’s a strong girl but a quiet girl,” he says. “And I think she would no doubt be struggling with the loss of her brother, and being away from her extended family. They need some time. But they’re happy with this life they’re creating in Melbourne.”
By all accounts, Jess is a determined woman, intensely proud of both her Indigenous heritage and the things her husband and family have come through. She writes messages online that speak to this strength: “The game of life is a lot like football – you have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.” She pays tribute to Marlion, too, for the ride they’ve been on – taking the good with the bad: “I love everything that we have been through, because they made us the husband and wife that we are today. Thank you for this sweet and beautiful life.”
They chose their new patch carefully. The kids – whose names Pickett has tattooed on his left ribcage – are enrolled at the local primary school, which has an Indigenous Studies program. Jess, who minds the kids full-time, has joined a local footy team, too. She’s tiny – “lucky to be five foot tall” – but a speedy half-forward flank. From their modest home, she can walk across the street a few nights a week to train with the Fitzroy Stars, a local institution within a strong Indigenous enclave.
They’re making connections, and trying to shake a feeling of impermanence. The past six months have been nothing but lows and highs, separations and reunions – more than two dozen flights back and forth between east and west. They’ve been billeted out and stayed in Airbnbs. Neither owns a car, so they’re familiarising themselves with the number 11 tram and the Epping line train. Other than a short visit at Christmas, they have no plans to return to Western Australia.
Pickett is already back in training, too, itching for preseason to start, to show what he can do after a full summer of sweating and straining. Holding his place within a premiership side will not be easy, but no one knows how good he might be once exposed to the regimens of an elite full-time fitness and football program. He’s not taking anything for granted. A handful of players from the club live in his area, so the past few weeks he’s been boxing with them. Hitting the heavy bag with full back David Astbury. Holding up contact gloves for half-forward Kane Lambert. Sparring with back flank Jayden Short. He’s throwing his best punch.
Shortly before this new life began, he told me this was his plan. “Gotta put my head down, work hard, spend quality time with family,” he said, nodding, and smiling only with his eyes. “Gotta celebrate the journey we’re on.”
Konrad Marshall’s Stronger & Bolder: Inside the 2019 Finals Series with Richmond (Hardie Grant, $30) is out Monday.
 
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caesar

Tiger Champion
Feb 9, 2015
3,142
1,266
Jeez FF that's a lot of copying and pasting, I just opened the browser link :)

Sensational read, covers what was in Stronger & Bolder with a little extra on top.

Amazing story, but from a future football perspective at Richmond i like this.

Other than a short visit at Christmas, they have no plans to return to Western Australia.
Pickett is already back in training, too, itching for preseason to start, to show what he can do after a full summer of sweating and straining.

:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2:clap2
 
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craig

Tiger Legend
Aug 19, 2004
25,572
1,689
melbourne
If he can star in the GF you would think that he will handle home and away games
Reps are made and lost on the big stage.

He nailed a debut on a Grand Final Stage none bigger after getting best on in a Grand Final a week previous.

Handles the big games.

Surely he will handle playing the Aints and the Suns
 
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RedanTiger

Tiger Champion
Nov 21, 2004
2,544
31
Wasn't sure if it was paywalled.
Great if the link works...nice pics and Marlion highlights aplenty to enjoy, embedded in the story.
Better on here.
Lots of times I go looking for an old article and it's been deleted, particularly the AFL website.
Better here, where we can enjoy going back to it for years of confirmation to come.
 
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glenn downing

Tiger Cub
Jun 2, 2014
100
85
It is just so exciting to see what Marlion can achieve for the club next season. As well as his better than average natural talents as a player, it appears that he has a great attitude and a determination to succeed at the top level, traits which are so important. Together with other emerging talents at the club like Balta, Ross, Collier-Dawkins, Turner, Naish, Coleman-Jones, Eggmolese-Smith and Stack plus the 4 or 5 quality draftees that the club will hopefully pick up in the draft, there are exciting times ahead.
 
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tigerman

Nank should grow a mullet.
Mar 17, 2003
9,348
812
Towner's story gave me a lot of joy. On our list for 2 years, only played the 4 games until just before 2017 finals. He gets a game for the injured Caddy, kicks a bag and then holds his place in the side. He really lead the way in the 2nd quarter in the GF with a couple of huge tackles.

Marlion story moved me like no other, in a jail as a kid, turns his life around, dominates in the WAFL but continues to get overlooked. The mid season draft is his big chance but he breaks the same finger for the 2nd time in a couple of months just a few days before the draft.
The Mighty Tigers give him a chance by selecting him in the mid season draft. He has a couple of personal tragedies in the 1st month with us. Makes his debut in the VFL about a month before the finals, he gets better and better with each game, and gets selected to make his debut in the Grand Final.

I was so so excited that he got selected, him playing as well he did in the GF and us winning, has given me the biggest thrill that i have had in supporting the RFC for 55 years.
 
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willo

Tiger Legend
Oct 13, 2007
14,891
199
Broken Hill
Towner's story gave me a lot of joy. On our list for 2 years, only played the 4 games until just before 2017 finals. He gets a game for the injured Caddy, kicks a bag and then holds his place in the side. He really lead the way in the 2nd quarter in the GF with a couple of huge tackles.

Marlion story moved me like no other, in a jail as a kid, turns his life around, dominates in the WAFL but continues to get overlooked. The mid season draft is his big chance but he breaks the same finger for the 2nd time in a couple of months just a few days before the draft.
The Mighty Tigers give him a chance by selecting him in the mid season draft. He has a couple of personal tragedies in the 1st month with us. Makes his debut in the VFL about a month before the finals, he gets better and better with each game, and gets selected to make his debut in the Grand Final.

I was so so excited that he got selected, him playing as well he did in the GF and us winning, has given me the biggest thrill that i have had in supporting the RFC for 55 years.
:clap2
 
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waiting

Tiger Legend
Apr 15, 2007
6,872
814
melbourne, victoria
Plenty could have stopped him. Once drafted by Richmond, his path to an historic debut was neither linear nor smooth. After his famous first goal in the third quarter of the grand final, in front of a televised audience of 2.94 million, you might remember him ambling forward with the barest smile on his face, raising one hand in the air. He wasn’t calling attention to his goal – he was dedicating it to loved ones, gone too soon. “I don’t really celebrate goals much,” he told me later. “I pointed to the sky, that was for the hard times, and the family me and Jess have lost along the journey. The celebration was for them.”
Pickett’s first months in Melbourne were marred by tragedy. Early on while he was training, close relative Darryl Walley – a man who’d been supportive of him as a child – passed away, succumbing to emphysema. Pickett flew back to Perth for the funeral in June. He flew back again a month later, in July, for the funeral of a mate who had died of a drug overdose. While he was there, grieving that loss, his friend and former cellmate Sam Nannup – brother to his partner Jess, uncle to his four children – took his own life, having only left prison a few weeks earlier. Pickett flew back again for that funeral on August 22 – three burials in three months.
“That was a lot of stress. Hard times for the missus and me,” is how Pickett describes it. Yet he returned to Richmond alone each time, to keep training in the wind and rain, while Jess remained in Perth with the kids, supporting her extended family. “I just tried to keep the family stuff aside, keep it away from football,” says Pickett. “But it was hard ringing up the missus. Real hard. I couldn’t do anything for her.”
Pickett says he did what had to be done to find his groove in the chaos. This is what he does, too, on the field. When he can’t gather the ball, he says, he focuses on tackles. “I try not to drop my head too much when it’s not going our way. I just focus on the little things, until it clicks. When I’m playing good footy, I’m happy.”
Thursfield knows all this – the recruiter even flew to Perth with Pickett for one of the funerals, so that someone from the club would be by his side – and he gets a little teary now. He lives in the same Thornbury neighbourhood as Pickett, and drives him to training most days. They’ve developed a clear bond. “We’re family for him now,” says Thursfield. “I don’t want to get too emotional, but he’s had a big impact on my life – in three months. Just seeing where he’s from, and the strength he has, to do what he’s doing for his family. I love the man. I really do.”
Once the big game was over and all the interviews done, the Tigers scattered to the four winds, as players do when the off-season beckons. You can find most of them on Instagram. Forward Tom Lynch at a cafe in Bali. Backman Alex Rance at Yosemite National Park in California. Nick Vlastuin kiteboarding in Indonesia. Sydney Stack winning a dance contest in Thailand.
Pickett, before the first long night of post-match celebrations had even really begun, went home early. His mother, Angela, and father, Thomas, had flown across for the grand final, his dad confined to a wheelchair owing to crippling emphysema, and he wanted to share the moment with them. Within a week, he’d quietly signed a new one-year deal with the club, staying in Melbourne and settling his four children and partner into their new surrounds. “Footy and family,” says his manager. “That’s all he wants in his life.”
Van Der Wielen has kept almost all media at bay during the post-season, too, not just because his client is looking for a sense of quiet comfort, but on behalf of Jess. “She’s a strong girl but a quiet girl,” he says. “And I think she would no doubt be struggling with the loss of her brother, and being away from her extended family. They need some time. But they’re happy with this life they’re creating in Melbourne.”
By all accounts, Jess is a determined woman, intensely proud of both her Indigenous heritage and the things her husband and family have come through. She writes messages online that speak to this strength: “The game of life is a lot like football – you have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.” She pays tribute to Marlion, too, for the ride they’ve been on – taking the good with the bad: “I love everything that we have been through, because they made us the husband and wife that we are today. Thank you for this sweet and beautiful life.”
They chose their new patch carefully. The kids – whose names Pickett has tattooed on his left ribcage – are enrolled at the local primary school, which has an Indigenous Studies program. Jess, who minds the kids full-time, has joined a local footy team, too. She’s tiny – “lucky to be five foot tall” – but a speedy half-forward flank. From their modest home, she can walk across the street a few nights a week to train with the Fitzroy Stars, a local institution within a strong Indigenous enclave.
They’re making connections, and trying to shake a feeling of impermanence. The past six months have been nothing but lows and highs, separations and reunions – more than two dozen flights back and forth between east and west. They’ve been billeted out and stayed in Airbnbs. Neither owns a car, so they’re familiarising themselves with the number 11 tram and the Epping line train. Other than a short visit at Christmas, they have no plans to return to Western Australia.
Pickett is already back in training, too, itching for preseason to start, to show what he can do after a full summer of sweating and straining. Holding his place within a premiership side will not be easy, but no one knows how good he might be once exposed to the regimens of an elite full-time fitness and football program. He’s not taking anything for granted. A handful of players from the club live in his area, so the past few weeks he’s been boxing with them. Hitting the heavy bag with full back David Astbury. Holding up contact gloves for half-forward Kane Lambert. Sparring with back flank Jayden Short. He’s throwing his best punch.
Shortly before this new life began, he told me this was his plan. “Gotta put my head down, work hard, spend quality time with family,” he said, nodding, and smiling only with his eyes. “Gotta celebrate the journey we’re on.”
Konrad Marshall’s Stronger & Bolder: Inside the 2019 Finals Series with Richmond (Hardie Grant, $30) is out Monday.
Thanks Fighting !
 
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