AFL information: Clayton Oliver undergoes thumb surgical procedure, Demons ahead line deficiency


Melbourne has confirmed certainly one of its greatest gamers has been foreced to bear surgical procedure, however he might be again ahead of you would possibly anticipate.

Melbourne famous person Clayton Oliver has undergone surgical procedure on his thumb to repair a niggling downside in his proper hand.

The Demons on Wednesday confirmed Oliver, 25, had gone underneath the knife to get on high of a minor subject which had been bothering him in current weeks.

The damage is anticipated to completely heal over the subsequent few weeks, permitting Oliver to return to full coaching when his teammates come again from their Christmas break subsequent month.

The thumb surgical procedure isn’t anticipated to have a serious impression on his preparation for the brand new season because the Demons try to bounce again from their straight units exit in final 12 months’s finals collection.

Oliver is famend for his toughness contained in the clinches however the Demons determined it was greatest to clean-up the damage earlier than summer season coaching ramps up and the scratch matches start after Christmas.

Particularly, Melbourne need Oliver to be able to fine-tune his new partnership with new ruck recruit Brodie Grundy within the new 12 months after his shock departure from Collingwood final 12 months.

Grundy has been coaching impressively in current weeks and can be a part of forces with Max after a knee damage worn out Grundy’s 2022 season.

The Demons are in fine condition on the health entrance, though Ben Brown is working his means again from one other knee setback.

Information Corp revealed final month key ahead Brown had additionally undergone put up season surgical procedure on his knee in a recent blow which had delayed his coaching till the brand new 12 months.

Oliver, who skilled with the remainder of the group on Saturday, will spend Christmas along with his thumb in a guard and his arm in a sling.

The jet ballwinner is among the greatest gamers within the competitors after one other distinctive season in 2022, profitable his fourth greatest membership champion award and third All-Australian jacket.

Oliver additionally received the AFL coaches affiliation participant of the 12 months award for the second season in a row this 12 months.

JVR to repair Dees’ ahead woes

— Glenn McFarlane, Chris Cavanagh and Jon Ralph

An untried younger expertise and an injury-prone veteran are giving Melbourne hope that it may possibly overcome the important thing ahead points that partly derailed its premiership defence this 12 months.

Observe watchers have famous the strong pre-season type of Jacob Van Rooyen, who’s but to play a senior sport however got here so shut final season, and premiership ahead Tom McDonald, who solely managed 9 video games in 2023 because of damage.

The Demons struggled to get bang for his or her buck when going ahead final season, with their ahead combine an limitless supply of debate.

With Sam Weideman traded to Essendon and Luke Jackson discovering a brand new residence at Fremantle, the Demons are sure to provide Van Rooyen an opportunity to lastly debut early within the 12 months.


The 20-year-old 191cm ahead, who was emergency on quite a few events final season, has been one of many Demons to impress on the monitor up to now this pre-season.

McDonald, 30, suffered a Lisfranc damage in Spherical 10, which ruined his season. He tried to return again via the VFL, however was unsuccessful in getting again for the membership’s finals run.

The Demons are hopeful McDonald could make a giant distinction once more subsequent 12 months given some luck with damage, with the membership wrapping up their final pre-season session of the 12 months on Friday.

In the meantime, Charlie Spargo stated the arduous work of the Demons’ children — together with Van Rooyen — has given the extra established gamers the drive to maintain pushing themselves.

“It’s actually spectacular to see the younger guys come again in such good situation,” Spargo informed the membership’s web site.

“Not solely does it assist them heading into the remainder of pre-season, but it surely additionally drives the remainder of the group and will get us senior guys going as nicely, so it’s been a very good begin. ”

Heppell responds to Bombers captaincy hypothesis

Essendon veteran Dyson Heppell says he’s “more than pleased” to step apart and hand over the captaincy reigns subsequent 12 months if the taking part in group decides a change can be the very best factor for the membership.

Heppell has served as skipper since 2017 and was certainly one of solely 4 Bombers to play each sport this season.

Nevertheless, he turns 31 subsequent Could and signed solely a one-year contract extension for 2023 late this 12 months.

“I’ve totally loved my time as skipper, however I’m not tied to the position in any respect,” Heppell stated.

“If the group and the membership really feel that there’s another person that’s higher off to steer the group going ahead, then I’m more than pleased to step down and hand the reins over.

“We’ll see the way it all performs out over the subsequent few months. We’re in no rush to make that decision, however there’s actually some actually sturdy leaders that might be able to take the reins if that’s the case.”

Heppell stated he had “no thought” whether or not relinquishing the captaincy can be a weight off his shoulder and assist his personal sport, however he stated he did need to nonetheless be at Essendon to assist the membership’s subsequent captain when the change got here.

“I need to be there nonetheless whereas the subsequent captain comes via and assist mentor, assist information and develop them as nicely,” he stated.

The Bombers had solely a three-man management group this 12 months, with Zach Merrett serving as vice-captain underneath Heppell, and Andrew McGrath filling the position as deputy vice-captain.

A match and refreshed Heppell stated he was having fun with his greatest begin to pre-season in years, which he hoped would translate to him to taking part in some good soccer subsequent 12 months.

“It’s the primary time shortly I’ve been capable of put in a physique of labor previous to Christmas,” Heppell stated on the AFL’s announcement of a brand new four-year take care of Asahi Drinks.

“It at all times helps, being wholesome coming this time of 12 months to set your self up for the beginning of the season and main into the again finish of the 12 months as nicely. So it’s been superior truly.”

Earlier, Bombers best-and-fairest winner Peter Wright launched an impassioned defence of Heppell’s captaincy because the veteran defender ponders whether or not handy on the baton after six years in cost.

New Essendon coach Brad Scott stated a call on who would captain the membership subsequent 12 months might nonetheless be “a few months” away, however he stated Heppell would have a “key position” to play a technique or one other.

The Dons haven’t received a closing underneath Heppell’s tenure, with a collection of below-par performances together with a 30-tackle effort towards Sydney this 12 months contributing to the sacking of coach Ben Rutten.

Heppell finally signed one other contract at Essendon after briefly contemplating transferring to the Gold Coast, and at 30 might determine it’s time to think about his soccer.

However whereas Heppell has at instances been seen as overly constructive in his management even after horror defeats, Wright made clear the 30-year-old was Essendon’s most authoritative chief.

He informed the Herald Solar it might be as much as Heppell what he needed to do whereas a bunch of youthful gamers underneath him desperately tried to enhance management depth.

“He is among the greatest individuals I’ve met in soccer, Dyson. He’s an unbelievable chief. He speaks to the group rather well. It’s as much as him if he needs to hold that (mantle) once more. I’m undoubtedly not taking down ‘Hepp’ except he needs to move it on,” he stated.

“I believe with all the things ‘Hepp’ has needed to carry he at all times turns up the identical individual, an extremely optimistic individual and a very nice connector within the group.

“I really feel like what stood out to me is in difficult instances when we have now had difficult conferences or performances he’s the one that basically galvanises the group, speaks rather well to the group, and may sum up rather well with an emphatic ending. Not a grand speech, simply makes clear the emotions of the group actually strongly.”

Essendon’s management group in 2022 consisted of Heppell, vice-captain Zach Merrett and deputy vice-captain Andy McGrath.

“Dyson Heppell has made a unbelievable begin to pre-season. I’ve admired Dyson from afar for a very long time however seeing him up shut, I can see why he’s been such an vital a part of the Essendon material over a protracted time frame,” Scott stated.

“He’ll have a key position to play for us subsequent 12 months, however when it comes to finalising what that management construction seems like, I believe it should take us the primary couple of months of subsequent 12 months earlier than we get to that stage.

“ … I’m not of the view that you just want a sure quantity in your management group.

“It’s who we predict is greatest positioned to fill these roles.”

Lately when the underside has dropped out of the membership’s efficiency there have been too few senior gamers ready to face as much as change the course of a sport.

“If he doesn’t (need to proceed) it’s an thrilling alternative for another person to step into that void once more and if he doesn’t there can be quite a few gamers succesful not simply of captaincy however to turn into higher leaders, which is absolutely vital with a younger group,” Wright stated.

“There are guys placing in a heap of labor to do this and being actually vocal on the monitor. I believe the gamers are excited to develop their very own management.”



Former Melbourne ahead Sam Weideman is impressing his new teammates and coaches, who’ve vowed to offer him with extra AFL alternatives subsequent season.

Weideman, 25, has been one of many standouts on the monitor within the early a part of pre-season and was working properly as a second tall ahead alongside Peter Wright throughout some match simulation at coaching on Wednesday.

The 197cm ahead had struggled to carry down a spot within the Melbourne aspect since debuting in 2016, having performed a complete of 59 AFL video games together with 10 this 12 months.

“He couldn’t have impressed everybody extra – his perspective, his professionalism, his depth on the monitor,” new Essendon coach Brad Scott stated.

“Generally gamers simply want the chance. He performed some actually good footy at Melbourne when he had the chance, however he additionally had some actually good gamers competing for the same spot. We expect we will present the chance, offered Sam holds up his finish of the discount.”


Insiders at Essendon are saying that Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is in a much better spot along with his coaching than he was on the identical time final 12 months.

However the fan favorite remains to be removed from a certainty to be again in motion at first of subsequent season.

McDonald-Tipungwuti was transferring freely on the monitor on Wednesday and accomplished some signature chase downs throughout match simulation, a lot to the delight of supporters watching on.

Nevertheless, the 29-year-old ahead nonetheless has a approach to go, along with his final senior sport having are available Spherical 21, 2021.

“The followers needs to be excited and we’re excited, however I’d stress that he hasn’t performed footy for 18 months,” Scott stated.

“It’s going to take a good bit of time for him to get again someplace close to his greatest. We’re hoping he can get there, but it surely’s going to take a while and whether or not that’s early within the 12 months subsequent 12 months or it take a bit longer, while you don’t play footy for 18 months you decondition and there’s a variety of work to do.”


The Bombers have been proud of Jake Stringer’s development after he battled groin soreness this 12 months and was restricted in what he might do post-season.

The 28-year-old solely did a small quantity of labor on the monitor with the principle group at coaching on Wednesday as he’s fastidiously managed by the membership’s health and medical employees.

Nevertheless, Essendon expects Stringer to be “cherry ripe” within the New Yr as he continues to “ramp up” his coaching in preparation for Spherical 1.

Stringer performed 15 video games this 12 months, averaging 13.1 disposals and booting 25 targets.


A refreshed Scott is clearly having fun with his return to teaching up to now, with the Bombers’ new mentor sporting a sizeable smile as he watched his new taking part in group prepare.

The previous North Melbourne coach had spent the previous three years working at AFL Home in off-field roles, however seems glad to be out of the workplace and again on the monitor – even when he did should rug up for a chilly summer season’s day at Tullamarine.

Scott even caught round after coaching and acquired the pen out to signal some autographs and mingle with followers – not taking offence to any of those that needed solely participant signatures on their jumpers.


Key defender James Stewart (foot) and younger ahead Tex Wanganeen (foot) are nonetheless working their means again to health after battling damage points this 12 months.

Stewart spent a variety of Wednesday’s session working laps.

Additionally on working duties away from the principle coaching group was father-son draftee Jayden Davey as he works his means again from an ACL damage he suffered at first of this 12 months.

Nick Cox, Kyle Langford and Harrison Jones are amongst those that are additionally being fastidiously managed after injury-interrupted years.

What’s Sheeds’ subsequent transfer after Hird backing?

– Jon Ralph

Essendon expects Kevin Sheedy to stay as a long-term board member as new chief govt Craig Vozzo decides whether or not the membership’s extraordinary personnel modifications will proceed.

The Dons have a brand new coach (Brad Scott), new president (David Barham) and 4 new board members (Dean Rioli, Tim Roberts, David Wills, Andrew Welsh) amid profound change on the membership.

Sheedy made clear that he voted for membership legend James Hird over Brad Scott, telling the Herald Solar he was “extraordinarily disenchanted” by the membership saying Scott’s appointment was “totally endorsed”.

However amid requires him to face down Sheedy has the membership’s backing with that board seen to be united and having introduced in consultants with abilities that can assist the membership’s stand up the ladder.

Former participant Welsh would be the soccer director, Rioli is the membership’s first Indigenous board member, Wills will chair the membership’s audit committee and property and building knowledgeable Roberts helped construct the membership’s NEC Hangar.

Sheedy brings a wealth of soccer expertise and has not been pressured to maneuver on.

Vozzo will arrive on the Essendon from his position at West Coast on January 16 and can determine if extra modifications are wanted after a collection of opinions.

Essendon introduced in Dan McPherson as the pinnacle of efficiency and Cam Roberts as the pinnacle of improvement with the event crew boosted from two full roles and a part-timer to 6 full-time roles.

Checklist boss Adrian Dodoro has at instances been underneath stress, however the membership has made clear the event pathways have been missing and didn’t fast-track sufficient of the membership’s elite expertise.

The Dons once more went again to the draft this 12 months and introduced in Sam Weideman and Will Setterfield for little commerce outlay.

So Vozzo could have time to evaluate the membership’s wants and strengths earlier than taking cost of every other personnel modifications.

The membership secured Elijah Tsatas (decide 5), Lewis Hayes (decide 25), Alwyn Davey (decide 45), Jayden Davey (decide 54) and rookie Rhett Montgomerie in addition to NGA expertise Anthony Munkara.

Initially revealed as AFL information: Clayton Oliver undergoes surgical procedure on thumb to repair niggling subject



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