Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver, in just his third year in the AFL, has elevated himself to one of the stars of the competition.
The 20-year-old has improved with each season in the league and in 2018 is averaging a remarkable 29.5 disposals and seven tackles per game.
As fans, we are able to witness his on-field performances every week, but what goes unnoticed is the work Oliver has done off the field to allow him to play at such a high level.
Oliver described the turning point between years one and two in the AFL system, and how an off-field incident propelled him to work harder.
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“I came into the club and I was alright but throughout the year I sort of wavered a little bit and put on a fair bit of weight,” Oliver told SEN Brekafast.
“By the end of the year I was about 90kg or 95kg, I was pretty heavy.
“Got to the off-season then obviously I got caught drink driving, it was a bit of a wake-up call for my footy career.
“I sat down with Goody (Simon Goodwin) and Marns (Josh Mahoney) and they said what do you want to do with your footy?
“I came back and day one they got me to follow one of the players which was Billy Stretch.
“I just followed what he did for the next three or four months, what he did on the field, on the training track and then off, what he was eating, I sort of did all that and it was a turning point.”
It was not the first time Oliver has had to put significant time into changing the training habits that would contribute to changing his body.
Oliver recounted the time before the draft in which a strength and conditioning coach said he was too ‘fat’ to be drafted.
“I was playing for a bit of fun and just enjoyed playing with all the (Murray) Bushranger boys,” said Oliver.
“Got to the end of the year and I had a few interviews with a few clubs.
“I was talking to the strength and conditioning coach and he said I was too fat to get drafted.
“I had to lose all that if I wanted to have any chance of getting drafted.
“So I got on a pretty intense program for six-to-seven weeks, lost all the weight and got a bit fitter.
“I actually thought I wasn’t in too bad nick but I copped it on the chin and went away and looked at my diet.
“My diet was atrocious, so I went back and ate all the food he said to eat, started doing all the exercises and started to look a lot better.”
Listen to Clayton Oliver's chat with Garry Lyon and Tim Watson on SEN Breakfast in the player below