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Young Demon Oliver stakes claim on opening round spot

Goodwin praises 'exciting' Oliver Simon Goodwin fronts the media after his side's match against the Bulldogs
Skipper Nathan Jones embraces Clayton Oliver on Sunday - ${keywords}
Skipper Nathan Jones embraces Clayton Oliver on Sunday

TALENTED Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver has put his hand up to play round one after impressing in the first two games of the NAB Challenge.

Melbourne's coach-in-waiting Simon Goodwin said the 18-year-old on-baller was doing everything right to come into calculations.

"We talk about picking players that play a certain way and the way we want them to play, and he is doing that at the moment," Goodwin said.

Goodwin praised Melbourne's recruiting department for their efforts over the past couple of seasons and said Oliver had them excited.

"He brings a smile to a lot of our faces. He's an exciting prospect with the way he attacks the ball and what he can do in traffic," Goodwin said.

However, Goodwin said Oliver's long-term growth would be the first priority when making decisions about where and when to play him.

"We have got to certainly manage him…and not put expectations on him."

Goodwin praised Jack Watts for another solid performance up forward where he kicked three goals and took 10 marks.

"He has certainly improved his contest work and I know it is something he has really worked on. We are pleased where he is at at the moment," Goodwin said.

"Obviously it is only the NAB Challenge and we want to see that continue through, but he has made some significant strides hopefully through the summer.

Goodwin said both Aaron vandenBerg and Lynden Dunn were taken off as a precaution after vandenBerg rolled an ankle and Dunn had a groin niggle.

Melbourne may consider including running defender Heritier Lumumba for Sunday's game against St Kilda as he continues to recover well from ankle surgery.