Melbourne forward Alex Neal-Bullen says Clayton Oliver is “moving really well” and has excited teammates with his work after returning to the main training group on Monday.
The troubled superstar joined in parts of the Demons’ morning training session at Gosch’s Paddock including match simulation before he travelled with the group to Seymour for the start of the club’s community camp in the Goulburn Valley.
Neal-Bullen said Oliver’s return had buoyed the group, who felt “energised” despite last year’s straight-sets finals exit continuing to sting.
“It’s fantastic to see Clayts back at the footy club, he integrated into some main drills today which was fantastic to see,” Neal-Bullen told reporters.
“He’s moving really well, so it’s really positive for Clarry and the football club, we’re really excited to have him back in, and we’re always there to support him as well.
“The intensity has been high from the jump, we feel like we’re highly energised, really excited for the season to start, and that for us is this Sunday against Richmond for our first practice game.”
Neal-Bullen said there “won’t be any wine” when the Demons spend a night together at a winery this week but flagged the occasion as a chance to “start from scratch” with the team’s off-field culture.
“There won’t be any wine, getting drunk there, but it is a nice place to get together, I guess every year you start from scratch in a way with your culture, you bring in new people … so it’s always an opportunity to show them how we handle ourselves at times like this, out in public and also internally, what we stand for as a club,” he said.
One of the members of an unofficial leadership group supporting captain Max Gawn and deputy Jack Viney, the 28-year-old said last year’s premature finals exit still hurt but would not affect the Demons’ approach to the new season.
“Yeah it’s a feeling you never forget, it’s something that continues to drive this group,” he said.
“I continually remind myself and the leaders within this club the footy club is in a great spot though.
“You start the season with a high emphasis on starting well, you get the confidence up and from there anything can happen – you build enjoyment, confidence, and the game just flows from there.”
Read related topics:Melbourne