Kozzy Pickett and Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin at training on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

BANNED Melbourne forward Kozzy Pickett needs to continue to work on his defensive technique after earning three suspensions in 27 games, Demons coach Simon Goodwin says.

Pickett failed in his challenge of a one-game ban for a high bump on Adelaide's Jake Soligo at the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday, meaning he will miss Thursday's clash against last year's Grand Finalist Brisbane at the MCG.

The dangerous forward also received a two-match ban for a high bump on Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith in round one last year, and finished his season by incurring a one-match suspension for a late hit on Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps in the Demons' semi-final loss.

Pickett took part in the Demons' captain's run on Wednesday despite his selection unavailability, while most players set to feature in the VFL this weekend did not participate in the light training session.

"We'll continue to work with Kozzy, this isn't the first conversation we've had. He's certainly modified the way he goes about it. He's a high-pressure, high-intensity player, we love what he brings," Goodwin said on Wednesday morning.

"He has modified what he does, in and around pressure, and we'll continue to work on tackling technique and the way to intercept the ball better. He'll continue to improve in that space.

"We don't want one of our best players missing games of footy. We'll keep working with Kozzy. What he does have is an appetite to do is learn better and do it better, and that's what we love about him.

"We love his intensity and the way he goes about it, we love his attack on the footy, but can you get better at it? And that's what we do. You've got to learn from your experiences as you go through, and that's what the best players do, whether that be how they play the game, in whatever phase that might be, and they look to get better at it."


Goodwin said the club was hoping to argue the citation down from medium impact to low, but accepted the decision ahead of a crunch match against the Lions.

"It's hard to replace Kozzy, he's an important player for any team, he's a high-quality goalkicker that puts on enormous pressure," Goodwin

"He certainly isn't going to be someone we (directly) replace, it'll be a team role. We back our boys in to deliver the pressure right across the ground. We're going to need that. Whoever comes in, we'll make a decision post-training today. The expectation is that it'll be a team thing."


Goodwin said Lachie Hunter will have another week in the VFL after overcoming his calf injury. Given the emergence of draftee Caleb Windsor in the wing role Hunter played last year, the former Western Bulldog will "fit in anywhere".

"He had an interrupted pre-season, so he'll play VFL footy again on Saturday. He's building really nicely into where he needs to be, but another game of match exposure will be really important as he builds into this," Goodwin said.

"He's an experienced player and an important player, and it's good to get a few of these guys starting to transition back into playing VFL footy and giving us some selection headaches, because pressure in and around selection is important for us."

Lachie Hunter in action during Melbourne's clash against Brisbane in round 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Koltyn Tholstrup – the Dees' No.13 pick from last year's AFL Draft – has been named to make his AFL debut against the Lions.

Tholstrup was not an emergency last week, and took part in Wednesday's training hitout.

A rehab group – including Marty Hore (thumb), Jake Bowey (shoulder) and Jake Melksham (ACL) – did light skill work and run-throughs on the side of Gosch's Paddock.