Oliver support all relative
STAR AFL footballer Clayton Oliver’s finals campaign with Melbourne continues this week and the Heathcote community has good reason to follow his progress closely.
Oliver has family connections to Heathcote, being the grandson of well-known former Heathcote couple Les and Rhonda Stewart who now live in Echuca.
Les is the son of Alby and Doris Stewart. Rhonda is the daughter of Tom and Doreen Mansbridge. Both families lived on the Kyneton Road in Heathcote.
Alby and Tom were top footy players in their heyday and played in many premierships for North Heathcote in the early to late 1940s.
Les and Rhonda were born, raised and educated in Heathcote.
Clayton’s aunty Rhonda Mannix still lives in Heathcote and Clayton’s cousin Jonty Kelly is presently a good player for Heathcote.
In 2016 Clayton was recruited by the Melbourne Football Club as the number four draft pick in Australia, marking the start of what is shaping up to be an outstanding career.
In 2017, during his second season, Clayton won the Demons’ best and fairest award — a truly wonderful effort for a 20-year-old.
From his stellar start, Clayton has carried his excellent form into the 2018 season, gaining selection in the All Australian Team, which ranks him in the top 22 footy players in the AFL.
Oliver is being compared to past great players such as Greg Williams, Michael Voss and Chris Judd — all Brownlow Medal winners. There is little doubt that Oliver will score plenty of votes in this year’s count.
He is the most prolific possession winner in the AFL this season and fittingly is playing in the finals series — and playing well at that.
In recent weeks, Clayton has signed a three-year deal to continue to play with the Demons and has, to date, played 59 games.
Oliver will line-up with the Demons in the AFL preliminary final on Saturday night in Perth as they take on West Coast for a spot in this year’s grand final.