CHRISTIAN Petracca expects Melbourne teammate Clayton Oliver to soon be back training with the main group, although he's uncertain if he will available for round one of the AFL.
Oliver was back in the headlines on Tuesday after being fined for driving while suspended, with the 26-year-old claiming he didn't realise his licence had been suspended.
The sanction came after the star midfielder took extended leave during the pre-season to deal with personal issues. Oliver returned to Melbourne training last week in the rehab group, but Petracca said his teammate looked close to a full return to training.
"He will integrate soon, but it's really nice to see him back with us boys and being around us," Petracca said on Tuesday at the launch of a Super Bowl LVIII Party at Marvel Stadium next week.
Melbourne travel to Sydney for the AFL season-opener on Thursday March 7 and before that have pre-season hit outs against Richmond and Carlton.
Petracca wasn't sure on Oliver's availability but backed his teammate to get quickly up to speed.
"When you've been away from the club for a few months, obviously there's new things that we've improved on and tried to get better at," Petracca said.
"But he's a pretty good player so I think he'll come up to speed with that."
Petracca insisted the ongoing speculation around Oliver and his playing future wasn't a distraction for the club.
"I feel like the club has done a really good job in the last few months of managing everything," he said.
"I haven't been frustrated at all - it's part of the footy industry and we understand that there's things that we can't control and media are going to comment on things.
"When he comes into the team, he's one of us and we treat him like one of us."
Petracca said the rest of Melbourne's list are in "great shape" and identified young winger Caleb Windsor, the No.7 draft pick, as a stand-out of the pre-season.
"He's flying," he said of the 18-year-old.
"He's going really well and has really impressed us on the wing.
"Hopefully in the practice match next week there's a chance for him to play."
The Demons have made consecutive semi-final exits, with Petracca saying they were tinkering to find an extra level.
"With us, 95 per cent of the stuff we're doing really well - contest, defence and our offence," he said.
"There's no doubt we've got to improve in a few things and we're looking at those things, tinkering with a few things, we're trying to change and adapt.
"The AFL is constantly evolving with new game styles, we'll work at those.
"The last few years have been frustrating but I'm a pretty optimistic person and I see there's only ways to improve and get better."