Echuca footballer Ollie Wines is settling into life as an AFL player with Port Adelaide.By Geordie Cowan
Adjusting to training for 11 hours each day has been the biggest cultural shock for Echuca footballer Ollie Wines since he was drafted to Port Adelaide six weeks ago.
It has been a whirlwind period for the 18-year-old and, all of a sudden, it is not long until the AFL season starts.
‘‘It all happened very quickly. The draft was Thursday night and I was on a plane to Adelaide Sunday afternoon,’’ he said.
‘‘It took me by surprise how quickly it did happen, but I got over there and started Monday and got introduced to all the playing group and the staff.’’
Meeting all his new colleagues was what caused him the most nerves, but the club made it easy for him, Wines said.
‘‘Credit to all the staff and boys there, they made me feel really welcome,’’ he said.
‘‘Started training that morning, so I was straight into it.’’
Wines trained for a month and then returned home for two weeks, but after training resumes today it will be straight through to the end of the season.
His first impressions of the club have left him in a positive frame of mind.
‘‘First of all I was amazed by all the facilities Port had. Just blew me away,’’ Wines said.
‘‘You read a lot in the media about how it has not been a successful club lately, but you’ve just got to go look around the club and meet all the players and you know they’re on the right track and the right path to success.’’
The midfielder spent the first month living with Power player Paul Stewart and, after returning to Adelaide, will live with Stewart’s parents for the rest of the year.
‘‘So going into 11-hour days, it’s just taken it out of me.
‘‘Each night I’d get home and just eat and go straight to bed.
‘‘It’s a massive step up but I’m enjoying the challenge of it all.’’
The move to Adelaide did not only impact Wines, but his family as well.
‘‘They (his parents) were probably a bit shocked at first for me to go to Port, because originally I was supposedly going to stay in Victoria,’’ he said.
‘‘So I think just that initial shock, to find out that I was going interstate really put them aback, but I think they’ve moved on now and they know that I’ve really been given an awesome opportunity and I’m going to grasp it with both hands and go forward.’’
The start of the season is scarily near for Wines.
The club’s first NAB Cup match is only six weeks away, on February 17, with intra-club matches before it.
Following the three NAB Cup matches, the Power’s first AFL game is on March 31, against Melbourne at the MCG.
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