Star Demon Clayton Oliver will make the trip to the Harbour City for Melbourne's Opening Round clash agains the Swans, with the four-time best and fairest expected to feature in Simon Goodwin's starting side.

Oliver, 26, has been the subject of numerous headlines since the cessation of last season, with the gun ball-winner both spending time in hospital and time away from Demons' headquarters due to varying health concerns.

Melbourne, too, has made headlines for all of the wrong reasons this summer, with utility Joel Smith facing a lengthy ban for returning a positive drug test for cocaine.

Smith, the son of former Demon Shaun Smith, has since been accused of trafficking the illicit substance.

On Monday, Goodwin announced that Oliver would start in Thursday's clash at the SCG, bringing an end to the midfielder's on-again, off-again hiatus from the club and his senior duties.

“It's been a pretty long process post-season to firstly and foremost get Clayton healthy and that has been a process but it's one that we've undertaken as a footy club,” Goodwin was quoted by The Age.

“We've addressed some things, we've gone about a process to get him to this point. It's not finished but he's healthy, he's happy, he's ready. We're united and connected as a footy team – and that's been a big part of our summer and he's a big part of that.

“So he's done everything we could have asked him as a footy club to get himself into this position. And he's right to go.”

Melbourne are also expected to hand debuts to recent first-round draftee Caleb Windsor, defender Blake Howes and former Saint Jack Billings in their opening fixture against the Swans.

A pacy outside runner, Windsor joined the Redlegs with the 7th selection of the 2023 AFL Draft and made an early impression on Demon diehards with his scything run and goal from the guts against Carlton at Princes Park during the pre-season.

Howes, a medium sized defender, has called Melbourne home since being picked up in the 2021 draft, however, the Mordialloc-Braeside junior has been asked to bide his time at VFL level until now.

Far more of a known quantity, Billings made his way from Moorabbin during the off-season, bringing an end to his 155-game stint with the Saints.

A fine conduit on his day, Melbourne will be keen to see the former top-three pick rekindle his best form while working between the engine room and the forward line in season 2024.

After returning from the Harbour City, Melbourne will play their first home game against contemporary rivals the Western Bulldogs at the MCG on Saturday, March 16.