Demons to take cautious approach with star Oliver

·2-min read

Melbourne are not willing to put any timeline on Clayton Oliver's return as the star midfielder struggles with a "minor" hamstring injury.

Oliver hurt himself during the third quarter of last Friday night's thrilling defeat against Port Adelaide.

The 25-year-old will definitely miss this Saturday's match against Fremantle at the MCG, and the Demons will leave him out indefinitely.

"We're just going to build him through that process, how long that takes we're unsure, but he's such a diligent player around his rehab and his ability to get get his body right," Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

"We're not sure how long it is, and that can be frustrating for our supporters, the media to not know a timeline, but we don't know one.

"Obviously we're going to be very cautious with him as well, he's an important player to us, so we're going to make sure he's right."

Goodwin listed father-son midfielder Taj Woewodin, premiership player James Harmes and Bailey Laurie as potential replacements from the VFL for the four-time club best-and-fairest winner.

"We've got some options there but it's going to be a team based thing," he said.

"You can't replace Clayton Oliver with one player, it's going to have to be a team responsibility and make sure we get our system right."

Meanwhile, Goodwin hit back at claims Melbourne didn't do enough to protect captain Max Gawn in the epic against the Power.

Gawn was targeted by Port young gun Ollie Lord and Power tough nut Sam Powell-Pepper.

The Demons were awarded a crucial free kick after Powell-Pepper bumped Gawn as he was running off the ground towards the bench.

Veteran analyst David King said he was disappointed he didn't see more Melbourne players come into fly the flag for Gawn.

"Max has dealt with treatment over the last few years," Goodwin said.

"With all due respect to 'Kingy', I reckon he's one of the best in the game but I reckon he had a miss on this one from a culture perspective.

"We're incredibly proud of our culture and we stick up for Max a lot ... so we're really comfortable with where we sit in that space."