Marlion Pickett has been a model citizen since his release from prison.
Marlion Pickett has been a model citizen since his release from prison.

Former prisoner on Suns’ radar

GOLD Coast is in the hunt for reformed WAFL star Marlion Pickett.

Pickett was jailed in his late teens and starred in the Wooroloo Prison Farm team that was the subject of an ABC documentary.

AFL clubs have previously been wary of Pickett's history but he has been a model citizen since his release in 2013 over five seasons for South Fremantle and many experts are satisfied he is a new man, worthy of a chance at an AFL career.

He is expected to nominate for the draft after several clubs, including the Suns, informed him of their interest.

Gold Coast list manager Craig Cameron confirmed they were tracking the hard-nosed midfielder, who he felt should not be held to account forever for a mistake in his youth.

"He's carving it up at South Fremantle, he has had some issues in his backstory but he has got past them and is playing great footy,'' he said.

"We would be crazy not to look at him. We will bring some elite young talent through the draft but we can't rely totally on the kids.''

Marlion Pickett in action for South Fremantle.
Marlion Pickett in action for South Fremantle.

The 26-year-old dominated off half-back for South Fremantle in recent years but asked for a shift into the midfield this season after former teammate Tim Kelly's move to Geelong created an opening.

Pickett captured the attention of AFL clubs in Round 6 against Swan Districts where he collected 30 possessions, 21 of them contested, and won nine clearances in a best on ground performance that also included seven tackles, five inside 50s and a goal.

Kelly's stunning debut season and the success of players such as GWS' Zac Langdon, Essendon's Matt Guelfi and Fremantle's Bailey Banfield has shifted many recruiters' eyes back to the WAFL and Pickett, who is a contested-ball winner with a huge leap and line-breaking foot speed, is considered the most ready-made for AFL footy.

"He is carrying 'the next Tim Kelly' label but he's a slightly different player,'' Cameron said. "He's a bit more of an inside midfielder and he's a bit older than Kelly also.''

It is believed the Eagles and the Cats are also in the race.

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