Clayton Oliver contract signing: what does it mean for Melbourne’s future?

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Melbourne fans will be delighted with the news that Clayton Oliver has signed a contract that locks him in until 2030.

Oliver took his game to new heights, relishing his consistent work over several years in a successful Demon system and was rewarded with a seven-year contract, joining a rare financial situation.

However, the 24-year-old’s long-term deal was mirrored by Christian Petracca, who signed until 2029, Christian Salem (2026), Bayley Fritsch (2026) and Jack Viney (2025), potentially hinting at wage compression. in the future.

It’s also worth mentioning that Melbourne are trying to keep their star ruckman Luke Jackson, who is attracting strong interest from his home state of Western Australia.

The 20-year-old Jackson would attract big money and long-term contracts from rival clubs and could land a huge deal with the Demons to keep him in the red and blue.

Despite the initial push for immediate success, history has shown that while clubs make a long-term commitment to their stars, other players may miss out and be forced to find new homes.

A more recent example is Collingwood which, through its own fault, was forced to swap stars Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson after coming under financial pressure and demands from other key players.

Treloar and Stephenson were attached to the Pies, but were kicked out due to mismanagement of finances which deemed the pair unaffordable.

The Giants are another example of a team currently experiencing pressure in midfield, where they have committed Josh Kelly (signed for 2029), Lachie Whitfield (2027) and Stephen Coniglio (2026) for an extended stay at Western Sydney.

Other than those top three picks, Jacob Hopper, Tim Taranto, Tanner Bruhn, Lachie Ash and Tom Green have all spent time at center and GWS is unlikely to keep them all on their roster.

As some of their youngsters come out of their shells and their demand for more dollars comes to the fore, Giants management will be under pressure and tough decisions may have to be made.

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While it’s hard to predict what the future holds, Demons should be wary of who they commit to and for how long, given the potential of other players.

In the case of Melbourne, they have an array of talent on their roster, which will require club commitment and financial reward, such as Jake Lever, Steven May and Max Gawn.

They also have promising talent in the form of Kysaiah Pickett (21), Charlie Spargo (22), Trent Rivers (20), Tom Sparrow (22), James Jordon (21) and Harrison Petty (22) as the future of their club, while evoking Jackson (20 years old).

Assuming – which history has suggested – that there will be retention issues with all of their players, the Demons could consider losing James Harmes – who is out of contract at the end of 2024 – and could face Angus Brayshaw moving away at the end of the season.

Understandable, Demon fans wouldn’t appreciate hearing this, but the reality is that these incidents are happening in the AFL and sadly some favorite players are being seen in new colours.

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