Christian Petracca speaks out in eye-opening new revelation about Clayton Oliver

The Demons midfielder revealed he feared Clayton Oliver would leave the club after a tumultuous off-season.

Demons star Christian Petracca admits he thought embattled teammate Clayton Oliver was headed out the door during a tumultuous off-season. As Oliver struggled with a range of off-field issues, Melbourne considered moving on their four-time best-and-fairest winner.

But they ultimately decided against putting Oliver on the trade table, instead issuing the midfielder a stern warning about his standards. While dealing with his ongoing personal issues, Oliver spent some time living with Demons captain Max Gawn and his wife Jessica, weeks before she gave birth to the couple's second child. After some time away from the team, Oliver returned to training in January rejuvenated and refocused.

Pictured Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver together
Christian Petracca admits he feared teammate Clayton Oliver would leave the Demons during a turbulent AFL off-season. Image: Getty

Oliver, who is contracted to the Demons until 2030, extraordinarily managed to get himself physically and mentally right for Melbourne's opening-round defeat to Sydney last week. His close friend and teammate, Petracca, said he is proud of the progress he has made both on and off the field.

"I'm not going to lie, yeah I think so," Petracca told SEN when asked if he thought Oliver was going to be playing at a different club in 2024. "As a close friend you worry about those things.

"The biggest thing I've learnt is that we're all human beings and we all make mistakes and we all stuff up, whether it's big or small. People have just got stuff going on in their lives. The biggest thing I've learnt as a friend and as a teammate is the power of forgiveness. We just need to forgive."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 19: Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver of the Demons celebrate during a Melbourne Demons AFL training session at Casey Fields on May 19, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver during a Melbourne Demons AFL training session. (Quinn Rooney via Getty Images)

Despite enduring an interrupted pre-season, Oliver was solid on his AFL return, managing 30 possessions and six clearances against the Swans. Petracca was impressed with the 26-year-old's performance and said his return to the side has provided a massive boost to the squad. "The best version of Clayton isn't just the player he is on the football field, he's just a great person off it and I'm starting to see that again over the last seven weeks," Petracca said. "Obviously he's going to be a little bit rusty but he's done a mountain of work over the last nine or 10 weeks to get himself back in condition."

Simon Goodwin admits he had his doubts about Clayton Oliver's return

Simon Goodwin admitted that he wasn't sure if Oliver was going to be fit for the start of the season after spending time away from the team in the off-season but applauded his determination to get himself right. "There were no guarantees on anything. There were certainly some doubts on whether he'd get himself to this position," Goodwin said.

"He's worked incredibly hard with a lot of people, with a lot of support from people within our footy club and some external people, and got himself into a really happy and healthy place, and fit. He's looking really strong out there at training, he's looked strong in the match sims that we've had out there in the VFL.


"We should be proud and celebrate where he's got to at this point. We know those challenges aren't finished but we are united, we are connected and he's a part of our footy team. We're really proud of him."

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