AFL 2024; Clayton Oliver given extra time away from the club

Troubled Melbourne star Clayton Oliver was a no-show as the club resumed pre-season training on Thursday and will remain on extended leave as he deals with “personal issues” which contributed to him to leaving a pre-Christmas camp early.

The club has pledged its full support to the 26-year-old and four-time Melbourne best-and-fairest winner and 2021 premiership player has been subject to intense scrutiny since the end of last season.

Oliver left the club’s training camp at Lorne before the Christmas break early and on the advice of medical experts will stay away from the club as he prioritises his health and the complex issues he faces.

“Clayton has personal issues that he has been dealing with. Clayton has been working extremely closely with his personal medical team, with the support of key club staff, in order to manage these challenges,” Melbourne football boss Alan Richardson said.

“The club fully supports Clayton taking this important time out, which will allow him to focus on these challenges.

“Our primary focus is Clayton’s overall wellbeing, and we will continue to support him through this period.

“It’s important for Clayton that we respect his privacy and his need for time and space.”

Oliver’s absence comes as day after it was confirmed swingman Joel Smith would remain provisionally suspended as he faces the prospect of a two-year ban after testing positive to cocaine last year.

A hamstring injury limited Oliver to just 15 games in 2023 before the emergence of other issues which have cast a cloud over his 2024 return.

His name was raised in early trade talk at the end of last season, which was shot down by the club, before he was sent to hospital in an ambulance after a seizure.

The Demons put out a statement from CEO Gary Pert that underlined Oliver’s need to meet certain standards and he also due to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 6 after being charged with driving while his licence was suspended on medical grounds after the seizure.

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