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Clayton Oliver returns to Melbourne training

In short: Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver has returned to training ahead of the AFL season, having not trained with the club since mid December.
Oliver was granted leave by the Demons to deal with personal issues ?
What’s next? Oliver is due to face court on February 6 after being charged with driving without a licence

Melbourne’s four-time club champion Clayton Oliver has returned to training with his AFL teammates after an extended period of leave to deal with personal issues.

Oliver’s return on Wednesday comes after the ace midfielder battled injuries and medical problems as well as facing questions over his off-field behaviour.

He hadn’t trained with teammates since December 18 when he left a team camp in Lorne to deal with medical issues.

In January, the Demons released a statement from football boss Alan Richardson after Oliver failed to re-join his teammates at pre-season training.

“Clayton has personal issues that he has been dealing with,” Richardson said at the time.

“Clayton has been working extremely closely with his personal medical team, and with the support of key club staff, in order to manage these challenges.”

Oliver’s professionalism was repeatedly questioned in 2023 amid doubts over his future at Melbourne.

The triple All-Australian was restricted to 15 games last season because of a hamstring injury but returned before finals, when the Demons made a second consecutive straight-sets exit.

Clayton Oliver returned to club training on Wednesday.(Getty Images: Quinn Rooney)

Oliver was later the subject of trade speculation despite being under contract until 2030 after signing a massive seven-year extension.

Melbourne ultimately did not put him on the trade table but coach Simon Goodwin and chief executive Gary Pert made it clear the midfielder needed to adhere to the Demons’ standards.

Melbourne’s culture has been under fire amid Oliver’s troubles, plus utility Joel Smith’s provisional suspension for recording a positive in-season drugs test to cocaine.

Oliver was pulled over by police on November 16 and charged with driving with a suspended licence.

He has been unable to drive on medical grounds since he was hospitalised following a seizure on October 12, which he partially attributed to side effects from his ADHD medication.

Oliver is due to face court on February 6.




Author: Russell White