Demons pair join list of players banned for COVID-19 breaches

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.

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.