Melbourne chief executive Gary Pert is adamant the Demons “at no stage” talked to other clubs about trading superstar midfielder Clayton Oliver and he didn’t request a move, with confirmation the dual All-Australian will remain at the club.
Ending a frenzied week of speculation Pert, in a letter to members, reaffirmed the club’s commitment to the four-time best and fairest winner and said it would support Oliver through the “personal circumstances” he had been dealing with in 2023 that led to speculation about his future.
Oliver is contracted until 2030 and is one of the club’s highest-paid players and immediately became the subject of interest from several clubs when speculation about his future at Melbourne intensified.
“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 said.
“The club has been aware of and supporting Clayton with his 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.”
Pert also said Oliver “understands what is expected of him as a professional athlete” after concerns were raised about his professionalism in injury recovery as well as being late to his season-ending exit meeting with coach Simon Goodwin.
It’s understood talks with Goodwin this week helped thrash out the issues.
“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,” Pert said.
Melbourne star Christian Petracca said the Demons had to protect their club culture and Oliver was “fine” despite a week of speculation about his future
“Yeah, he is fine. He is one of my close friends,” Petracca said on Kiss 101 radio on Friday.
“One of the biggest things in footy clubs is culture. Culture will always be the forefront for everyone, so I think that is the biggest thing we are focusing on at the moment.”