Long-time Bendigo Pioneers region manager Ray Byrne pities his players at this time of the football year.MARC MCGOWAN November 22, 2012 4:15am
Long-time Bendigo Pioneers region manager Ray Byrne pities his players at this time of the football year.
Byrne’s pity is not so much for the likes of Echuca on-baller Ollie Wines, who is set to be a top-five pick at tonight’s AFL National Draft, but more for those whose football future is not so certain.
Wines’ Murray Bombers clubmate Christian Burgess, a ‘‘very quick and very clever’’ small forward, is in the latter category.
‘‘All these boys are educated in (how the draft works), but it still doesn’t stop the nerves coming around at draft time and you just feel sorry for them,’’ Byrne said.
‘‘It’s very hard on the kids who don’t know if they will get drafted.
‘‘Ollie is going up to Queensland (for the draft) and he knows he’s gone and so would (fellow Pioneer Jake) Stringer.’’
Byrne, like most others, is glowing in his praise of Bendigo skipper Wines, who turned 18 last month.
Wines is an AIS-AFL Academy graduate, was an All-Australian and Victoria Country’s co-most valuable player at this year’s national under-18 championships along with touted No.
‘‘Ollie has been fantastic. He’s a great kid, has a great work ethic and has all the tools to be a great player,’’ Byrne said.
‘‘They expect him to be ready to play next year.
‘‘He’s got a fantastic family who support him to the hilt and nothing is ever too hard for him.’’
Byrne said Wines was ‘‘one of the best’’ captains he had seen in his ‘‘20-odd years’’ at the Pioneers.
‘‘I just think he respected everybody around the club and his teammates and it’s a credit to his family,’’ he said.
‘‘He’s such a good kid and that comes from his mum and dad.
‘‘He’s a fantastic team player and he’d do anything for any of his teammates. He’d block for them, he takes some good knocks and he’s genuinely a great clubman and team player.’’
Byrne said Wines was not as good at the same age as Bendigo junior star-turned-Geelong premiership player Joel Selwood, but had the same elite work ethic.
‘‘That puts Ollie in good stead for a league career, because this is kindergarten compared to what they’ll get down there and he’ll be able to handle that,’’ he said.
‘‘We all knew Joel could do it and we all know Ollie will be able to do it.’’
Byrne said Burgess was ‘‘at best a rookie’’, but pointed to Sydney Swans player Ben McGlynn as a shining example for those players who might miss out tonight.
‘‘Look at Benny McGlynn up in Sydney. He lived with me for a year when he was at the Pioneers and he never got a look in (initially),’’ he said.
‘‘Then he played with Box Hill, got rookied and look at him now — he’s played in finals, (reached) 100 games and it’s just been fantastic.’’
Midfielder-forward Stringer will likely be off the draft board before selection 20, while Byrne said Liam Byrne and Sam Heavyside, who both sustained mid-year season-ending injuries, had also generated AFL interest.
To read more on local players in the AFL National Draft see today's Shepparton News.
Budding Kyabram actor Taylor Smith Morvell is one of 20 Victorian students chosen to perform his Year 12 theatre studies monologue in Melbourne next week.
The Yarrawonga and District Cemetery Trust has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Department of Health to undertake development work at the Yarrawonga cemetery.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
A man has been taken to Echuca hospital after being trapped for several minutes in his vehicle.
Steve Glassborow has returned for a twentieth year, bringing a range of his bronze sculptures.
Tongala family hopes for transplant call for six-year-old.
Family of former Seymour man killed in a road crash in Los Angeles before Christmas set up a Melbourne University scholarship in his honour.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Leitchville-Gunbower at home was too strong for Heathcote’s senior footballers in their first Good Friday clash.
Huge crowds turned out for Cobram Barooga's River Beaches Festival, which featured a special splash for 2000 rubber ducks.
South West Arts ArtOut will be held again in 2015 after last weekend's inaugural success.
Murray Goulburn has lifted its milk prices to about $6.66 kg milk solids.
Benalla's Kevin Harper will be honoured in the motorcade lap of honour at Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow for his service during the Korean War.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.