FANCY having Neville Jetta as a mentor, an uncle, or a roommate?
Kysaiah Pickett is blessed with all of the above.
The 18-year-old spent his first few days in Melbourne staying with ‘Uncle Nev’, an experience the Jetta household certainly embraced.
“Having Kozzy come stay with me for the week was great,” Jetta told Melbourne Media.
“My family loved it, especially my kids. It was almost like having a big brother around the house.
“He’s a good kid, I loved having him here and I’m sure he’ll be coming around a lot more for dinners and popping in when he gets a bit lonely.”
Pickett, selected with pick No.12 in the 2019 National Draft, is an excitement machine on the field, but a shy character off it – a trait Jetta can relate to.
“He’s very, very quiet, as I was when I first started,” Jetta said.
“I just tried to show him as much as I’ve learnt over my career in terms of habit, punctuality and doing all the little things, and pass them on as quickly as possible to make him feel comfortable and get his career underway.”
With 148 games of AFL experience, Jetta is the perfect role model, looking to provide as much advice as possible for his young nephew.
Byron, Nev + now Kozzy.— Melbourne FC (@melbournefc) November 28, 2019
Kysaiah Pickett isn't the first member of his family to join the red + blue. 🤗
“It’s part of our relationship really,” Jetta said.
“I’m his uncle, as has been well documented in the media, but Aaron Davey and Matthew Whelan have done that for me, and it’s part in parcel of my responsibility at the football club.
“We don’t want to put the pressure on the senior Indigenous players at the club … but I’m happy to help where I can and show him the ropes.
“I’ll try to teach him a few tricks in terms of what defenders do to small forwards and how he can get around that, too.”
As a leader of the club, Jetta takes great pride in supporting the new players, and is excited to watch Pickett develop in years to come.
“I’m just looking forward to helping him in his career,” he said.
“If I can help him get underway as quickly as possible and find his feet and feel comfortable, I’m sure that’ll go a long way to helping him play his best footy in the future.
“Obviously just getting through pre-season is as tough as it gets at the moment, as a first-year player coming in.”
While moving states and starting a new career couldn’t be easy, Jetta is a familiar figure for Pickett to lean on, with the duo building a relationship in recent years.
“We have strong family connections and I always knew he was coming through, knew his dad really well, so there’s always been a connection and communication line there,” Jetta said.
“I knew we were pretty interested but to get him officially here and to see him doing his stuff out there training already, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can bring to our footy club.”