A SIMPLE piece of advice from one of his coaches allowed Melbourne draftee Clayton Oliver to play a starring role in his debut against Greater Western Sydney and win the round one NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.
Oliver was told by his development coach Brendan McCartney to "see the ball and get the ball" against the Giants, and that's exactly what the rugged midfielder did.
By the time the siren sounded on the Demons' thrilling two-point win at the MCG, Oliver had racked up 15 contested possessions, seven clearances and five centre clearances (all game highs).
"I was pretty happy with that, and it was a bit of a shock to be honest that I could do that," Oliver said on Tuesday.
"Macca, my development coach, just tells me to see the ball and get the ball. So as long as I play my role, do that as well.
"I was pretty surprised and I didn't think I was going to get so much of the ball, but it was good to do that and it was pretty fun."
An understated Oliver said he was just lucky to have such quick hands – he racked up 17 handballs, burrowing into packs and releasing the ball – and playing against men as a junior in Mooroopna in country Victoria had helped him.
Compared to Carlton midfield jet Patrick Cripps as a TAC Cup junior, he has also kept a close eye on teammates Bernie Vince, Nathan Jones and Jack Viney since joining the Demons.
He has been living with fellow youngster Angus Brayshaw's family as he settles into Melbourne after moving from his country home.
"They're a really good family and Mark and Deb are really good parents to have as host parents," he said, with Brayshaw's father Mark, the AFL Coaches Association CEO.
"I'm usually pretty cooked, so I just go home, go to bed, play some PlayStation or go to see my girlfriend, who is out in Malvern."
His nickname with the Demons is 'Clarinet', which has evolved from Clarence after his coaches at Mooroopna put the wrong name on the whiteboard.
And if any fans try baiting him with that on social media, he's unlikely to bite after hitting back at a number of unkind comments through the pre-season.
"It was a bit of fun, but I should probably stop doing that now as it looks a bit silly," he said.
"It was a bit of fun a couple of weeks ago, but I'll stop that."