Melbourne captain Max Gawn has defended his club’s culture amid of a string of off-field issues in the past month.
It comes after a tumultuous week when Joel Smith was provisionally suspended for testing positive to cocaine after the Demons’ win over Hawthorn in Round 23.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Max Gawn speaks exclusively to 7NEWS on Demons’ culture.
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Earlier this month, the professionalism of Clayton Oliver was questioned and there were doubts surrounding his future at the club despite having seven years to run on his contract.
Oliver was last week hospitalised in the early hours of Thursday morning after suffering a seizure that resulted in a head injury.
The 26-year-old had been living with his captain, although Gawn was away on a post-season trip during the latest controversy.
Max Gawn (right) has provided an update on Clayton Oliver. Credit: Getty Images / Channel 7
Gawn said he is in contact with Oliver every day to help him through his personal issues.
“I’m in pretty good dialogue with him and we talk every day – he’s been at my house for a while,” Gawn told 7NEWS Melbourne.
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“I think Clayton’s going really well.
“I understand the noise that is coming about Clayton could really bring someone down but I think the support that he’s got around him, will help him get through it.”
Since Melbourne’s 2021 premiership, they have dealt with several off-field incidents, including last year’s public bust-up between teammates Jake Melksham and Steven May.
The latest episode surrounding Smith has brought questions about the Demons’ culture, but Gawn was quick to defend his club.
“There’s been some stuff over the past few weeks. I feel like this happens at most clubs – there’s adversity here, adversity there. Ours has obviously all come at once,” he said.
“We’re certainly not invincible. I’m certainly not invincible.
“I’m certainly very bullish on the culture we’ve built over the last three or four years that it can withstand adversity like this and we’re able to get in the top four again like we have the past three years.”
Melbourne will head into 2024 as one of the leading premiership contenders despite losing four straight finals since the 2021 grand final triumph.
They were busy in the trade period, adding Shane McAdam, Jack Billings and Tom Fullarton, while farewelling Brodie Grundy, James Harmes and James Jordon.
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