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‘The clarinet’ can play a bit

What does Melbourne teenager Clayton Oliver have in common with Carlton skipper Marc Murphy, Essendon’s Dyson Heppell, Port’s Ollie Wines and Lion Daniel Rich?

All received a NAB Rising Star nomination after stand-out AFL debuts.

Oliver, 18, racked up 22 possessions (15 of them contested) and impressed with his clearance work in the Demons’ two-point win over the Greater Western Sydney Giants at the MCG in Round 1.

The Mooroopna teen, who was Melbourne’s first selection in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft (pick four overall), was a popular Rising Star nominee among his teammates, who took to social media to sing the praises of “the clarinet”.

Oliver explained the nickname originated from his time at the Murray Bushrangers, where he won the 2015 Morrish Medal as the best player in the TAC Cup U18s competition.

“A few of the coaches at the Bushrangers, they read (my name on) the board as ‘Clarence’,” Oliver said.

That soon translated to a nickname of ‘Clarrie’, which a few of the Melbourne players picked up on during a preseason camp in Maroochydore.

“Nathan Jones and Bernie Vince and Jack Trengove started saying ‘clarinet’, so there’s a few variations of it,” Oliver said.

Oliver has settled in well at Melbourne and has benefited from living with the family of teammate Angus Brayshaw, who told earlier this year that “thing that stands out for me is his competitiveness”.

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