Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver called out as AFL fans blow up over 'awful' scenes

The Demons duo have been slammed for having next to no positive impact in Melbourne's 22-point defeat to the Lions on Thursday night.

Melbourne duo Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca have come under fire for their lacklustre displays in the Demons' 22-point loss to the Brisbane Lions on Thursday night. The Demons were completely picked apart by a rampaging Lions side, with only some late goals saving the score from being really ugly in Melbourne’s 12.10 (82) to 8.12 (60) defeat at the MCG.

Oliver had shown flashes of his best in Melbourne’s four straight wins to kick off the season but struggled to get involved in the game against the Lions, only registering his first disposal at the very end of the first quarter. “Not too many times I’ve seen Clayton Oliver statless in the first quarter,” former Geelong champion Joel Selwood pointed out on Channel 7 late in the first term. "That is a real oddity,” Alister Nicholson added.

Pictured Clayton Oliver
Melbourne's Clayton Oliver was "exposed" after being moved to the backline during the Demons' 22-point loss to Brisbane. Image: Getty

At halftime, Oliver had just seven disposals, a mark and two tackles and the Demons were down by five goals. So Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin made changes, including moving Oliver to the backline.

However, that move only made the Demons star's night worse, with Brisbane Lions' Zac Bailey making a mockery of him. A prime example of the mismatch was when early in the last quarter, Oliver was more than 20 metres away from Bailey at the time of centre bounce.

After being caught out of position the Demon sprinted to catch up with Bailey as the Lions broke from centre bounce and went on the attack. A determined Oliver charged across to try and break up the Lions' foray forward, leaving Bailey once again all alone.

Consequently, the ball was handballed to Bailey who was wide open and he strolled away to kick an easy goal. Channel 7 commentator Dale Thomas highlighted how Oliver was badly exposed and was clearly unsure of what to do in defence.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 11: Lincoln McCarthy of the Lions and Clayton Oliver of the Demons compete for the ball during the 2024 AFL Round 05 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 11, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Clayton Oliver finished the match with just five kicks from 18 disposals. That came after just 16 disposals against Adelaide last week.

“Have a look at this from the centre bounce, just some confusion,” he said. “Clayton Oliver not playing his usual role going to halfback. He’s on Bailey, his direct opponent there. If you leave your man you have to impact with the ball, which he doesn’t do so, which allows Bailey clear access towards goal.

“With Salem going down early (to a potentially serious hamstring injury), they have tried to shuffle the board, moved the magnets but Oliver is not known for his defensive efforts in that back half, he’s a genuine ball hunter and exposed on that occasion.” Oliver finished the match with just five kicks from 18 disposals. That came after just 16 disposals against Adelaide last week.


Christian Petracca struggles in Melbourne Demons loss

Petracca had an equally quiet night with just 20 disposals. Coming into the game with four-straight wins, Petracca and the Demons were unable to handle the Lions' intensity as the visitors laid 83 tackles to 51 in a rude awakening to the premiership hopefuls. The 28-year-old and Oliver were the main two who copped most of the slack for Melbourne's poor showing on social media, both trending on X throughout the game.

“Clayton Oliver deadset looks like he’s forgotten how to play footy,” one user commented. While another wrote: "If Clayton Oliver can’t throw his right arm out there, he shouldn’t be playing. I don’t care how good he is, he isn’t that good playing with one arm."

Simon Goodwin frustrated by determined Brisbane Lions

Melbourne's three-quarter-time score of 3.7 (25) was their worst at a final break since round 16, 2020 - the COVID-19-affected season when games were shortened. And Demons coach Simon Goodwin labelled the match as frustrating.

"We just got beaten by a very good team," he said. "They beat us in all phases of the game - they were stronger, they were cleaner, they transitioned the ball better and they defended better. We've acknowledged internally for a few weeks now that we're probably not playing to the level that we think we're capable of, so we have got work to do."

with AAP