New Port Adelaide footballer Ollie Wines had dual goals this year. The first, obviously, was to be drafted into the AFL. The 18-year-old was able to tick that one off on the Gold Coast last night.MARC MCGOWAN November 23, 2012 4:15am
Port Adelaide-bound Echuca on-baller Ollie Wines (middle) prepares to pounce on former fellow Echuca Primary School student Jack Viney, who has joined Melbourne, at this year’s national under-18 championships.
New Port Adelaide footballer Ollie Wines had dual goals this year.
The first, obviously, was to be drafted into the AFL. The 18-year-old was able to tick that one off on the Gold Coast last night.
The other, definitely less publicised, was to score a VCE ATAR score of 90 — good enough to put him within reach of an architecture or engineering career.
Riverine Herald's journalist Geordie Cowan was on the Gold Coast for the AFL Draft. Read his tweets.
That remains to be seen, but Wines’ parents, Jane and Tony, spent the last six years driving their son from their Echuca home to Shepparton’s Goulburn Valley Grammar School to ensure he maximised his chances.
He said the lack of a ‘‘good, academic private school’’ closer to home — there was no Moama Grammar School at that stage — was the reason for the long daily commute.
‘‘It’s been very hard for me, with school and football. Us country boys do it tougher, with all the travel we have to contend with,’’ Wines said.
‘‘But my parents have been massive in helping me and making sure I keep studying and don’t become too football-oriented.
‘‘They’ve been there all the time and I couldn’t have done it without them.’’
Wines’ now 21-year-old sister Maddi was the first in the family to go to Goulburn Valley Grammar School and another sister, 19-year-old Sophie, followed.
Then there is Wines’ brother Harry, 14. He, too, plays at Echuca Football Club, in the under-16s.
‘‘Harry’s been cast off a bit, because he’s been compared to me a lot when he’s played football, so he’s into rugby and gridiron as well,’’ Wines said.
‘‘It is hard. I don’t pressure him at all to play football.
‘‘I’m happy with whatever he’s happy with and if he wants my advice or asks for my advice, football-wise, I’m happy to give it.’’
Wines’ competitiveness — which he said also extended to his schoolwork — work ethic, maturity and selflessness have earned him rave reviews.
His football isn’t bad, either. He averaged 25.4 disposals, 7.5 tackles and six clearances at TAC Cup level as Bendigo Pioneers’ captain this season.
That was good enough to earn Wines, an AIS-AFL Academy graduate, a spot in the centre for the TAC Cup Team of the Year.
He also shared Victoria Country’s most-valuable-player award with No.
‘‘I identified after last year there were a few things I had to improve and make sure I got better at to make it,’’ Wines said.
‘‘One thing was getting more uncontested possessions and not just being that one-dimensional midfielder.
‘‘I addressed that over the pre-season and tried to implement that in my games this year and I think I’ve done that well.’’
It wasn’t until three years ago Wines considered himself an AFL prospect, but he has done everything he can since to make it a reality.
He credits Pioneers coach David Newett, who has worked closely with him, for much of his improvement.
Wines has also studied Essendon’s Brownlow medallist Jobe Watson, who, like Wines, had to develop an outside game to complement his inside midfield skills.
Wines has also had to adjust to the extra attention which has come his way, particularly when he was initially linked to Melbourne, where his old Echuca Primary schoolmate Jack Viney is off to.
‘‘I’m not really used to this publicity — it’s a bit foreign to me,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve learned to adapt to it. It’s flattering people are taking an interest in me, so it’s good and the more I do of it, it betters me, I think.’’
Wines’ mother Jane was a state hockey player and plays a major role in keeping him on track.
‘‘Mum says to me getting drafted is the easy part,’’ Wines said.
‘‘The next part is to consolidate a career and get a game, so I will reassess my goals and I’m sure there’s a lot of hard work to come.’’
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