The Roar
The Roar


Oliver to remain a Demon after crisis meetings, club ultimatum to 'shape up or ship off'

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
6th October, 2023
4618 Reads

After a turbulent week, Clayton Oliver will remain at Melbourne after all.

With the star midfielder shockingly linked to trade speculation amid reports of a fractured relationship between club and player, the Demons are expected to announce that Oliver will be staying in red and blue for the 2024 season.

According to a News Corp report, an ultimatum handed to Oliver by the Demons to improve his off-field behaviour and professionalism has had the desired effect, with the 26-year old speaking with coach Simon Goodwin and committing to improve.

Demons CEO Gary Pert released an open letter to members on Friday addressing the speculation, confirming Oliver will remain at the club but remaining firm on Melbourne’s commitment to ‘uphold a strong Club culture’.

“At no stage has the Club entered discussions with any club regarding a trade for Clayton. Furthermore, Clayton has not requested a trade and will remain at the Melbourne Football Club,” Pert wrote.

“The Club has been aware of and supporting Clayton with his personal circumstances for some time and is committed to continuing to do so.

“While Club leaders focus on the care and support Clayton needs, we also have a responsibility to uphold our strong Club culture for the benefit of all our players and staff. We have a responsibility to ensure that everyone within the Club is committed to meeting the expected behavioural standards of a player within an AFL high performance environment.

“Clayton understands what is expected of him as a professional athlete, as well as the standards and behaviours a Melbourne person is expected to uphold.”


Oliver remains contracted until the end of 2030, having signed a seven-year contract extension reportedly worth $7 million only last year.

Hints that he would be up for grabs in the upcoming trade period took the football world by storm, with Adelaide and Essendon among several keenly interested parties; however, Oliver’s contract and standing in the game meant a trade was always a long shot.

According to SEN‘s Sam Edmund, the Demons’ ultimatum for Oliver following a series of alleged off-field misdemeanours was to ‘shape up or ship off’.

“Fed-up Demons officials have told their troubled midfielder that they need a commitment from him – a renewed commitment – that he will once again conform to the standards and expectations that the club demands,” Edmund reported on Thursday.

“They have made a series of demands to Oliver that include the need to treat club staff with respect, to treat teammates with respect, prepare the way that he should and to turn up to training in the proper condition.

Clayton Oliver of the Demons and Darcy Cameron of the Magpies in action.

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“It can be revealed that Melbourne’s reluctance – which we’ve all been curious about – to squash the frenzied trade talk surrounding the 26-year-old is exclusively due to its exasperation with Oliver’s increasingly erratic behaviour.


“Oliver is said to have lost his way at times during a difficult campaign interrupted by injury, but it’s his behaviour since the Dees’ straight-sets finals demise that has deeply concerned many at club headquarters.

“Sources I’ve spoken to with an intimate knowledge of this rocky Oliver-Demons relationship described this as football’s version of an intervention, rather than a push to the exit door.”

It was reported by Fox Footy that Oliver was late to his club exit meeting, and missed another post-season meeting due to illness.

According to Edmund, dissatisfaction from the club – as well as Oliver’s reported anger at Demons medical stuff in their handling of his long-term hamstring injury that wiped out much of the second half of his 2023 campaign – that has led to rival clubs ‘smelling blood in the water’, fuelling trade speculation.

Oliver missed 11 games with a hamstring injury this season and after polling 25 Brownlow Medal votes last year, his absence was costly for the Demons’ campaign.

He was a part of their finals disappointment when after finishing fourth, they went straight out the back door with losses to Collingwood and Carlton.


Melbourne teammates, according to SEN, became frustrated and concerned with Oliver’s commitment, particularly when he engaged in a public spat with strength and conditioning chief Selwyn Griffith.

The three-time All-Australian went outside the club’s staff to have a knee injury treated last month.

SEN also reported that Oliver’s foot became infected after he tried to tattoo himself earlier in the year. The club said at the time that he had a blister which became infected but his condition worsened to the extent he was hospitalised.

with AAP