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.
When Sam Atukorala addresses his children in his mother tongue of Sinhalese, they understand him completely, but they always reply in English.
Mulwala’s own motor racing sensation Steve ‘Harro’ Harrison has won the 2014 Victorian Super Tin Tops Championship.
St Augustines College, Kyabram, has won the inaugural School’s Sustainability Cup for 2014, beating several Melbourne schools.
The Shire of Campaspe is concerned as to the incomplete reporting of Port of Echuca property matters.
Four people, including a father and his two children, were fined more than $18,000 for their role in an alcohol-fuelled brawl at a Lockington party earlier this year which ended in a teenager beaten up and forced into a dog cage.
New faces for Girgarre FNC
A time to include late loved ones in the spirit of the season.
Firefighters were able to save a Finley property's buildings after a large stack of hay bales went up in flames on Monday.
Eppalock Primary School has gone global.
Scout Group hopes to raise funds for World Scout Jamboree through novel 24-hour endurance test.
Forest tour only way to understand impact.
Fodder depots have been set up in Euroa and Thoona for farmers hit by the recent fires.
The rail tracks are in such disrepear V/Line is having to close the buffet car between Euroa and Seymour due to health and safety concerns to hospitality staff.
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.