MELBOURNE coach Simon Goodwin has lauded the performance of exciting youngster Kysaiah Pickett, who helped spark the Demons to an impressive victory over St Kilda on Saturday night.
Pickett showed flashes of brilliance throughout the night and finished with two goals, including an incredible effort in the second quarter where he weaved his way through several St Kilda defenders and snapped truly.
Speaking post-game, Goodwin said “Kozzie” had the agility and excitement factor reminiscent of retired Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli.
“I took my young lad to the footy a lot and he used to watch Cyril Rioli, and I’m not making comparisons to Cyril, but I used to take him cause he’s worth coming to watch and I think that’s what the Melbourne supporters would love about Kozzie too,” Goodwin said.
“You sit there on the sidelines as coach and you love watching him play. He’s still got a lot to learn and get better at, but he’s a good player.”
Pickett played 14 games in his debut season but took leave from the club earlier this year following the passing of his mother.
Goodwin praised the youngster for keeping himself in prime condition during his time away and said the next step for Pickett was to show greater consistency.
“[He just needs] to keep doing the basics well, keep training hard, keep building the habits that take you to be a good player,” he said.
“There’s no secret in becoming a good player, it’s doing it week after week and getting it done time after time.
“He’s still got enormous growth in him, he’s by no means a finished product yet.”
The Saints meanwhile have been left to rue a missed opportunity, after failing to capitalise on a five-goal run that gave them a 16-point lead midway through the second quarter.
St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said he was disappointed by his side’s fade out, noting his players “looked a bit flat.”
“Our ability to use the ball, which has been a strength of ours wasn’t up to scratch,” Ratten said.
“We missed too many easy options and I think when we were under pressure we tried to just manufacture something, and that fuelled some of the scoring from Melbourne.
“So that was really disappointing.”
Ratten also said that Jimmy Webster – who was substituted out of the game in the third quarter after an errant tackle – had a suspected crack in his jaw.