Sport

AFL coaches name Oliver best of the young guns

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September 06, 2017

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Clayton Oliver of the Demons handpasses the ball during the round 22 AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Brisbane Lions at Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 20, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media)

CLAYTON Oliver has turned a good season into an incredible one, being named the 2017 best young player of the year as chosen by AFL coaches.

The Melbourne Football Club young gun finished 34 votes ahead of runner-up Sam Menegola from Geelong with 72.

Melbourne’s Christian Petracca (29 votes), Essendon’s Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (19) and Western Bulldogs’ Marcus Adams (16) were also among the list of top young players.

Oliver, 20, was recognised with the award, which is determined by the weekly votes of AFL coaches, on Monday night — the icing on the cake to what has been an outstanding season in only his second year of AFL.

He averaged 30 disposals, 6.9 tackles and 6.6 clearances per game in 2017 and was ranked fifth in total disposals (177) behind Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell, Adelaide’s Matt Crouch and Rory Laird and Richmond’s Dustin Martin.

He was ranked second overall in total contested possessions on 344 with Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield the only player to have surpassed him.

The strong inside midfielder was a key contributor in the young Melbourne side that finished the next best team outside the eight this season on percentage.

Oliver was on leave and unavailable for comment, but the Riv hopes to catch up with him later in the year.

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