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Why Melbourne midfielder has a “challenge on his hands”


Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver was fairly well held in last weekend’s win over GWS.

The 23-year-old was restricted to 23 disposals by Giants run-with player Matt De Boer having tallied 35 and 37 touches in the opening two games respectively.

This Sunday, the Dees meet Geelong at the MCG which will pose another challenge for Oliver with suggestions that Mark O’Connor might be sent to him.

Irishman O’Connor has performed impressive stopping roles on Brisbane’s Lachie Neale and Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell in the past fortnight and could also make life difficult for Oliver this weekend, according to David King.

“Unfortunately for Clayton, he showed last week some signs that De Boer got under his skin in the first half and clamped him large,” King said on SEN’s The Picks.

“All that does is send a little alert around the competition. At the moment, this guy can be got.

“He’s got a challenge on his hands. He has to demolish a tagger.

“He has to just take one to the cleaners and then they’ll go, ‘Oh, he’s untaggable. Don’t worry about him, we’ll go after someone else’.

“That’s his challenge now, but he’ll bounce back.”

The Demons find themselves with a 3-0 record and the second best defence in the league in terms of points conceded.

King is liking what he is seeing from Simon Goodwin’s side who are better placed without the ball than they have been for some time.

“We’ve always talked about what Melbourne can do with the footy. They’ve got these prime movers in the middle, they’ve got the best ruckman (Max Gawn) in the comp, they’ve got this, they’ve got that,” he added.

“We did a little study with Champion Data last week, we did a ‘without the football’ ladder. What are you like when the opposition has got the ball?

“Do you allow them to move the ball coast to coast, how often do you win it back in the midfield, what sort of pressure are you putting on, once it goes inside their forward 50 can you hold up and stop them scoring.

“Melbourne have come out clearly number one. They’re the best defensive 50 in the comp, they’re putting the second most pressure on, they’re second for intercepts in the mid zone between the arcs. They’re eighth for stopping the opposition from going coast to coast.

“They’ve got a great profile defensively. I can’t remember the last time we said that about Melbourne.

“This is a different version of them.”

The Demons were beaten by three points in this fixture at the MCG in Round 4 last year but will be hoping to get one back on the Cats as they strive to start the season with four wins from four outings.


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