MELBOURNE midfielder Angus Brayshaw has praised his returning teammate Clayton Oliver for his dedication to his rehab.
The star on-baller's impressive return in Saturday night's narrow defeat to Carlton has lifted the cloud as Simon Goodwin's men gear up for another premiership tilt.
"The way he came out and played is a credit to how he got through the process," Brayshaw told reporters on Monday.
"It's been him and it's been our high performance staff, I know they've put a heap of work in.
"It's great to have him back and hopefully now the headlines about it all disappear and we can focus on the footy."
Oliver gathered 27 disposals against the Blues after 10 matches on the sidelines and built into the Saturday Night fixture.
Thirteen tackles and ten clearances rounded out an impressive first-up performance.
"I'm really proud of Clayton," Brayshaw said.
"He's had a lot of scrutiny - a lot of media scrutiny - and that's the first major injury he's had to deal with.
"It's something as a player that's really hard and with the scrutiny he had on top of that, I really feel for him."
Oliver's return has had a flow-on effect to Brayshaw, who played increased midfield minutes to help cover his teammate's absence.
The versatile 27-year-old insists he is happy to "just do what I'm told".
"The team needs are above my own and I'm always happy to sacrifice for the sake of winning," Brayshaw said.
"Clayton did a really good job coming back from an extended break with a hammy that wasn't exactly cooperating.
"For him to come straight back into the AFL and have an awesome team-first, contested, tough performance was incredible.
"He integrated really well and the team unit's been ticking along, so whatever my role in that is, as long as I get to be involved, then I'm happy."
Melbourne will host its annual Pink Lady Match - recognising Australians impacted by breast cancer - when they take on Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday.