Riverine Herald journalist Geordie Cowan attended the AFL draft on Thursday on the Gold Coast. He caught up with the Wines family before the event as well as speaking to them after Ollie’s selection.By Geordie Cowan
Calm before the storm
Although remaining level-headed for much of the time before the draft, it suddenly became a whole lot more real for Ollie Wines on Thursday.
That was when club officials, player managers and more than 70 members of the media started flooding into the Gold Coast, with most of them staying in the one hotel.
With exams to focus on before the draft, he had been able to put it aside, now was the time when it all came back.
‘‘I’m quite nervous now, as everyone’s come in and half the AFL world is here,’’ Wines said on the afternoon of draft day.
‘‘Once you see everyone here and see all the clubs here, it hits you that something’s happening.
‘‘We’re finally here.
‘‘My junior career is over and (now I am) looking forward to my senior football career and the draft tonight and take it further.
On how quickly things change:
‘‘It’s good to have a couple of days off after exams and now I’m up here and starting (at a new club) on Monday.
‘‘It has happened quickly, but I think a lot more is about to happen quickly after tonight.’’
On the huge amount of media he has had to face, without any media training:
‘‘I think I’ve learnt from the experience of talking to the press and the media. It’s something I’ve gotten used to.’’
Wines develops Power-surge
Ollie Wines was ecstatic on being selected for Port Adelaide as the seventh pick at the AFL draft on Thursday night.
The 18-year-old said it was a ‘‘special’’ feeling to finally be on an AFL list.
‘‘This is what I’ve worked for since I was a young kid and for it to finally become a reality, it’s really special and I’m really looking forward to what it holds for the future,’’ he said.
Having to move to Adelaide to play for the Power held no worries for Wines, only feeling gratitude for the chance.
‘‘I would have moved anywhere to chase my AFL dream and as it’s Adelaide I’m looking forward to getting started,’’ he said.
‘‘Port Adelaide have given me that opportunity, so I’m going to grasp it and run with it.’’
Hearing his name read out by the Power at the draft gave Wines a sense of achievement.
‘‘Finally, to get it official and get my name registered on an AFL list,’’ he said.
‘‘I think I have achieved my goal, but I will have to re-look and set some new (goals) for the future.’’
Although not getting the much-hyped scenario of joining close friend Jack Viney at Melbourne, Wines said he was looking forward to developing a greater identity than ‘Jack Viney’s childhood friend’.
‘‘I think most interviews they bring Jack up and I guess it’ll be a bit more about myself now,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m looking forward to playing him.’’
And that prospect may not be too far away, with Melbourne playing Port Adelaide in the first round next year.
On support from the clubs and teams he has played for:
‘‘Echuca, Pioneers, Vic Country, AIS — they’ve all been enormous support.
‘‘They prepare you so well for entering the AFL.’’
On his family:
‘‘They bring me down to earth and also help me out with support and really, they’ve been enormous this year.
‘‘As much as me, they have to make a huge commitment.
‘‘I am so grateful for them and I can’t repay them enough.’’
On moving to Adelaide (having flown out yesterday):
No worries. Just gratitude for the opportunity.
Port Adelaide’s newest fans
Proud parents Jane and Tony Wines are relieved and excited their son will be at Port Adelaide Football Club next year.
The ever-changing predictions of the draft line-up and the constant debate had taken its toll, but once his destination was decided their relief was palpable.
‘‘We are very happy for Ollie,’’ Jane said.
‘‘We are so happy now.
‘‘The last 48 hours have been really, really hard pressured, not knowing where he was going .
Joined by Ollie’s older sisters Maddie and Sophie and younger brother Harry on the Gold Coast to support him, Jane said the family was already looking forward to the flights to Adelaide to see him play.
‘‘We’ll be on that plane and they encourage you to do that,’’ she said.
‘‘Ollie’s very happy, the other two boys that were recruited (by Port Adelaide) he knows.
‘‘One’s a country boy (Tom Clurey) and the other he was in the AIS (Mason Shaw) with.
Jane, who was also interviewed on 3AW, said the family was ‘‘so proud’’ of Ollie.
‘‘Number seven in Australia, so happy and so proud of him,’’ she said.
‘‘I think they’ve got a gold nugget, he’s only going to get better and better in a team environment and we’ll see what he can do next year.
‘‘He’s got a good mindset and his body’s great, so we’re on our way.
‘‘I think they’re getting the next Chris Judd.’’
Ken knows his Wines
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley was rapt to have secured Echuca’s Ollie Wines with the seventh draft pick on Thursday night.
The first-year AFL coach, who only took over the position on October 8, said it was not just the footballing ability of Wines which made him such an appealing player.
‘‘Where should I start?,’’ he said,
‘‘He’s a country boy and I’m a country boy, which is really important, but he’s just a really good footballer.
‘‘Really strong, hard-contested footballer.
‘‘The type of person you want to build a football club around.
‘‘The character as well.
‘‘Since I’ve gone to Port Adelaide we’re big on talking about character and we have got the absolute number one character in our club right now and we’re pleased about that.’’
Hinkley, a former Fitzroy and Geelong player who hails from Camperdown, said he had done a lot of research on Wines and it all impressed him.
‘‘You listen to comments and what people say about him,’’ he said.
‘‘You just know he’s going to add to our club from the day he lands and that’s tonight.
‘‘We know our club’s going to be a better place for having him come into it.’’
The coach said he was surprised to have had the chance to draft Wines as low as seventh on the list, but that Port Adelaide would be stronger for it and he was looking forward to see what impact Wines would make.
‘‘(This is) one of the good occasions where you don’t have to hope too much (about what Wines can achieve),’’ Hinkley said.
‘‘Knowing what I already know about him and the way he’s going to go about his football, the way he’s going to compete, I know what I’m getting and I’m really excited about what we are getting.’’
Wines said it was ‘‘very humbling’’ to hear the words spoken about him by his new coach.
‘‘Obviously you can get yourself talked up and (I’ve) really got to put it in to action,’’ he said.
‘‘I think that begins now and I’m going to put everything I’ve got into the pre-season and really try to get myself ready for AFL football.’’
A fairy tale of a different kind
Although unfortunate, the ‘fairy tale’ of Ollie Wines and Jack Viney playing AFL football together not happening would not make a difference to either player, Melbourne recruiting boss Todd Viney said.
The former Moama senior and under 12 coach said Ollie and Jack had developed tremendously since first playing together at the age of 10.
‘‘It’s been a great journey for the Wines and Viney families,’’ he said.
‘‘Then they both played the under 12 state team and went up to Darwin and .
‘‘Jack went back to Adelaide and played for South Australia against Ollie when he played Vic Country in the under 16s, then again in the (under 18s) carnival this year.’’
Viney said the pair had a great rivalry with each other, but were great mates underneath it.
‘‘I think they’ll be really good for each other even though they’re not at the same club,’’ he said.
‘‘They’ll both be watching from afar and being really competitive and striving to beat each other no doubt when they play.’’
Having a close friend go through such a similar path would have helped Jack, Viney said.
‘‘It’s always good to share those experiences, talk about the pressures and no doubt Ollie’s been (one of the) high profiles heading into this draft,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s good to be able to share those experiences, for the good and the bad.’’
Viney said Melbourne would have loved to have selected Ollie at pick four, but it could not go past Jimmy Toumpas.
‘‘Ollie was really highly ranked by the Melbourne footy club and we probably didn’t expect Jimmy Toumpas to drop out of the top three, so when that happened, we rate Jimmy very highly so we took him and Ollie moved out,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m sure pick seven — top-10 draft pick — in the national draft is an outstanding achievement and Port Adelaide are very lucky to get him.’’
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