MIDFIELDER Clayton Oliver has signed a contract extension with the club and will remain with Melbourne until at least the end of 2019.
General manager of football operations Josh Mahoney said Oliver, who was the No.4 pick in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft, after winning last year’s Morrish Medal for the best under-18 player in the TAC Cup, had already “shown the characteristics our recruiters saw in him at AFL level”.
“We are very happy that he has agreed to extend his original two-year deal and we look forward to watching his development over that period and beyond,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“We will continue to manage his loads at training and games this year, as he learns to cope with the demands of AFL.”
Oliver, who turns 19 in July, said it was a “pretty good feeling” to have his immediate future secured.
“I’m really happy to be a part of the club for the next few years,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“It was a very easy decision. My manager said ‘just go with it’ and I did.
“I thought I’d get it out of the way and get it done with because I was going to sign eventually.”
Oliver has had a fine start to his AFL career and will line-up for his seventh AFL game against the Brisbane Lions at the MCG on Sunday.
He was outstanding on debut in round one against Greater Western Sydney at the MCG, when he notched up 22 disposals and had seven clearances, and was rewarded with the first NAB AFL Rising Star nomination for 2016.
In just his third match for Melbourne, he accumulated 26 touches, seven clearances and kicked two goals against North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena in Hobart.
Oliver, who was drafted from Mooroopna/Bendigo Pioneers/Murray Bushrangers, said the first part of the season felt like it had gone “really quick”.
“It’s been a massive whirlwind ride [since being drafted] and it’s great to know I’ll be with the club for a few more years,” he said.
“It’s been enjoyable and a lot of fun.”
Oliver’s deal comes on the back of tough-nut Jack Viney, speedster Jayden Hunt and ruckman Jake Spencer signing new contracts last week.