Melbourne’s Charlie Spargo and Kysaiah Pickett banned for breaching coronavirus protocols

Melbourne pair Charlie Spargo and Kysaiah Pickett will miss the Demons’ restart to the season after being banned for breaching COVID-19 protocols.

They become the third and fourth AFL players to miss out on the return to football after falling foul of the official protocols for living arrangements and travel.

The duo used an Uber to travel to a house for a non-essential gathering.

The club self-reported the breach and Spargo has received a two-match ban while Pickett — who was taken at pick 12 of the 2019 AFL draft and has played just one game for the Demons — will miss one game.

“We know how important these protocols are and the social licence that we have been granted to be able to train and play AFL,” Melbourne general manager of football operations Josh Mahoney said in a club statement on Friday.

An AFL player sit on the ground with his back against a goalpost during training.
Kysaiah Pickett will have to wait to play his second-ever game for the Demons following his suspension.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

“As a club, we reported the breach to the AFL integrity department, who then completed their investigation, resulting in their suspensions.

“The two players attended a non-essential gathering and travelled via Uber, which is a clear breach. Both Charlie and [Kysaiah] acknowledged that they knew the rules, admitted their mistake and openly participated with the AFL investigation.

“On the whole, our players and staff have been compliant to the strict measures. However, on this occasion, there has been a clear breach against the AFL protocols and we accept the sanctions.”

When Melbourne’s team was named on Thursday night for Saturday afternoon’s match against Carlton at Docklands, Spargo was listed as omitted from the side after he played in the round one loss to West Coast in March.

Pickett was initially named in the forward pocket for Saturday’s match. Both players will now be available to play in Melbourne’s practice match on Saturday morning.

Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines and Essendon’s Brandon Zerk-Thatcher will miss their respective teams’ round-three games after breaching COVID-19 protocols.

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Melbourne Demons Charlie Spargo and Kysaiah Pickett suspended for breaking AFL coronavirus protocols

Melbourne Demons stars Charlie Spargo and Kysaiah Pickett will reportedly be suspended for one week after breaking the AFL’s coronavirus protocols. reported the duo visited another house in a non-essential outing, and are under investigation by the AFL. Players are not allowed to socialise with family and friends who are not housemates.

The incident was self-reported to the league, and although the AFL is yet to comment, the Demons pair are expected to cop a one-match suspension.

Pickett — who made his debut for the club in round one — was selected for Melbourne’s team to face Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon, while Spargo was dropped and named as an emergency.

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Spargo and Pickett are not the first AFL players to be pinged for ignoring the competition’s strict COVID-19 protocols. Earlier this week, Port Adelaide star Ollie Wines and Essendon defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher were suspended for breaking coronavirus restrictions. Both players will not feature in their respective round two games.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan was unapologetic about the competition’s tough stance on social distancing restrictions.

“You are not allowed to bring people back to your house. It feels tough but there are a set of protocols that need to be followed,” McLachlan said on Friday.

“People make mistakes, there is an accountability and they move on.”

Wines took part in an interview with Channel 7 on Wednesday outside his house, breaking rules dictating media interviews must be held at a player’s club or remotely via video links.

“Ollie needs to own the fact that it happened,” Port’s general manager of football Chris Davies told reporters on Thursday.

“This was a personal deal that Ollie has with that particular news organisation.

“The club was aware that the interview was going to happen and so we could have been clearer in terms of knowing where that should have occurred.

“Ollie should have known what the protocols are so this situation should have been avoided … this is something that we could have done a whole heap better.”

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