Clayton Oliver sends major scare through Melbourne in impressive comeback game

Melbourne star Clayton Oliver nailed a spectacular snap before being left in a world of pain during an action-packed return to playing duties.

Richmond and Melbourne faced off in an AFL match simulation battle across seven periods at Casey Fields on Sunday, with the first four terms being the main clash.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Clayton Oliver goes down in scary fall.

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The Tigers came up trumps in the main match by 23 points, but the focus quickly shifted to the remaining three periods when Oliver was wheeled out among a team of fringe AFL players and VFL top-ups.

Oliver’s future has been a huge talking point over the past nine months following repeated questions over his lack of professionalism, and allegations of poor off-field behaviour.

The 26-year-old, who only returned to the club three weeks ago following a stint of personal leave, was a class above from the opening bounce of the fifth period on Sunday, firing off the first handball and finding the ball with ease.

Oliver was in great spirits when he was finally let loose. Credit: Morgan Hancock/Getty Images

Oliver provided an early highlight when he snapped truly off his left boot from the pocket.

But he sent a huge scare through the Demons’ camp in the sixth period when he came crashing to the turf on his back and side after being accidentally tunnelled.

Oliver was clearly in pain as medical staff attended to him on the field, but he was able to walk off unassisted, before returning to the ground four minutes later.

The star midfielder continued to be a threat as the Demons almost snatched victory, with the Tigers enduring some nervy moments before holding on for a 21.21 (147) to 22.13 (145) win across the seven periods.

The midfield bull’s promising return would have been heartening for Melbourne, who are desperate to have a fit and happy Oliver back in their senior side this year.

The first four quarters were a topsy-turvy affair and featured some huge momentum swings.

Melbourne kicked the first five goals of the match, before Richmond answered with 10 consecutive majors.

The Demons kicked five straight goals during a stretch of the third period, but Richmond lifted when the game was on the line to end up 18.9 (117) to 14.10 (94) winners by the end of the fourth period.

Oliver put in the work in three periods. Credit: Morgan Hancock/Getty Images

There were plenty of positive signs for Richmond under new coach Adam Yze.

Noah Balta, a key defender who is set to play in the forward line this season, finished with three goals, while Shai Bolton kicked four.

Tigers ruck recruit Sam Naismith performed strongly against Max Gawn in the absence of Toby Nankervis.

For Melbourne, Kysaiah Pickett was lively during his stints in the midfield, and Christian Petracca kicked two goals in the opening period.

Both sides were missing a host of their best players.

The Tigers were without the likes of Dustin Martin, Tim Taranto, Dylan Grimes, Nankervis, Dion Prestia, Tom Lynch and Liam Baker, while Melbourne were missing Angus Brayshaw, Tom McDonald, Charlie Spargo, Ben Brown, Lachie Hunter and Harrison Petty among others.


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