Sport

Trophies an added twist to Oliver’s tale

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October 11, 2017

Clayton Oliver (front). Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Former Mooroopna player Clayton Oliver was a runaway winner of Melbourne’s best-and-fairest award on Friday night.

Oliver has become a midfield star for the Demons in only his second season in the AFL and he was duly recognised for his rise by the club.

Aged just 20, Oliver is one of the youngest winners of Melbourne’s Keith ‘‘Bluey’’ Truscott Memorial Trophy.

Terry Leahy holds that honour, winning it in 1966 aged 19 and 354 days.

Oliver, who grew up in Echuca before moving to Mooroopna to further his football late in his high school years, claimed the award by a massive 184 votes.

The former Murray Bushranger polled 530 votes, with Demons co-captain and last year’s winner Jack Viney way behind in second on 346.

Fellow co-captain Nathan Jones and former Hawthorn star Jordan Lewis tied for third place with 327 votes.

It was not only the top award Oliver walked away from the ceremony at Crown Casino with.

Oliver picked up the Harold Ball Memorial Trophy as Melbourne’s best young player, along with the James McDonald Trophy, which is the heart and spirit award.

It has been an incredible rise for Oliver, who was overlooked in the TAC Cup by Bendigo Pioneers before plying his trade in the Goulburn Valley League with Mooroopna.

Oliver was outstanding at senior level with the Cats in 2014 as a 17-year-old, before staking his claim in the TAC Cup with the Bushies in 2015. He did not play in the National Championships with Victoria Country, but won the Morrish Medal as the TAC Cup’s best-and-fairest player, pushing his draft prospects to be taken by the Demons with pick four.

Oliver played every game this year, averaging a touch less than 30 possessions a match and led the AFL for handballs.

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