Clayton Oliver during the round 22 match between Carlton and Melbourne at the MCG, August 12, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

MELBOURNE midfielder Angus Brayshaw hopes the conversation around the second-most talked about soft tissue injury in Australian sport can now be put to bed.

Clayton Oliver's hamstring saga - overshadowed in recent weeks by Matildas captain Sam Kerr's battle with a calf issue - was an unwanted distraction for the Demons for almost three months.

But the star on-baller's impressive return in Saturday night's narrow defeat to Carlton has lifted the cloud as Simon Goodwin's men gear up for another premiership tilt.


"The way he came out and played is a credit to how he got through the process," Brayshaw told reporters on Monday.

"It's been him and it's been our high performance staff, I know they've put a heap of work in.

"It's great to have him back and hopefully now the headlines about it all disappear and we can focus on the footy."


Melbourne's management of Oliver's injury was under an intense spotlight throughout his time on the sidelines, after he first hurt the hamstring in round 10.

The social media rumour mill went into overdrive in June, when furious Demons officials rejected suggestions that behavioural issues were behind 26-year-old's absence.

"I'm really proud of Clayton," Brayshaw said.

"He's had a lot of scrutiny - a lot of media scrutiny - and that's the first major injury he's had to deal with.

"It's something as a player that's really hard and with the scrutiny he had on top of that, I really feel for him."

Clayton Oliver speaks with medical staff while training after the R13 match between Melbourne and Collingwood at the MCG on June 12, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Oliver's return has had a flow-on effect to Brayshaw, who played increased midfield minutes to help cover his teammate's absence.

The versatile 27-year-old insists he is happy to "just do what I'm told".

"The team needs are above my own and I'm always happy to sacrifice for the sake of winning," Brayshaw said.

"Clayton did a really good job coming back from an extended break with a hammy that wasn't exactly cooperating.

"For him to come straight back into the AFL and have an awesome team-first, contested, tough performance was incredible.

"He integrated really well and the team unit's been ticking along, so whatever my role in that is, as long as I get to be involved, then I'm happy."


Melbourne will host its annual Pink Lady Match - recognising Australians impacted by breast cancer - when they take on Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday.