Lions legend helping Wines mature nicely
OLLIE Wines can't thank Brisbane Lions great Michael Voss enough for helping him become the powerhouse footballer that is today.
Wines will tomorrow captain Port Adelaide for the first time - ironically, against Voss's old club at the Gabba.
It will cap a meteoric rise for the big-bodied midfielder who at 22 years, six months and 22 days will be the second youngest behind Warren Tredrea (22 years, four months and 29 days) in 2001 to skipper the Power.
Wines looked to be destined for a great career after he burst on to the scene as an 18-year-old in 2013.
But he credits Voss, who arrived at Alberton at the end of 2014 as an assistant to head coach Ken Hinkley, for ensuring he fulfilled that early promise.
Averaging a career-high 29 touches in season 2017, he is among the leading contenders for this year's Brownlow Medal.
"He's had an enormous influence," Wines says of Voss.
"There's not too many more highly credentialed midfielders in the game.
"He has a wealth of knowledge ... teaching us the fundamentals of football, but also little tricks he's learnt throughout his career.
"He's also such a caring person. If he's not talking about football with you, he's talking about how you're going off the field."
Wines spent the pre-season working closely with the one-time Lions coach and three-time premiership skipper, doing "a lot of one-on-ones".
"We've worked on a few things which we identified at the end of last season, and that's really starting to show in my football," he said.
"One thing is just my running patterns - where to run to be more efficient on the ground.
"Also the way you can manipulate your body, get off your opponent to get the ball more freely."
Wines is playing with more assuredness than ever throughout his short career, and will take that into his captaincy with Travis Boak sidelined with a hamstring strain.
"It's obviously a big honour," he said. "I would love to have him out there, but it's an opportunity for myself. I'm really excited.
"I don't think I will change too much. I'm pretty vocal anyway before a game. I like to stir the boys up a little bit."
The boy plucked from Echuca on the Victorian side of the Murray River has come a long way in a short time - after some rough early days in Adelaide when suffering a little homesickness.
"The first couple of months, it's natural. I never lived away from home. To have gone interstate, live with a host family, it was pretty hard," he said.
While every Victorian club would love to entice him back across the border, Wines, the obvious heir apparent to Boak long-term, "can't see myself going anytime soon" and wants the underperforming Power to reach its own lofty expectations.
"I'm loving my time here," he said. "It is a big footy town ... it's like you're caught in a bubble sometimes
"You get over that and you become accustomed to living here and understand it is very important to some people.
"It's very important to myself that we get the right results. You put a lot of pressure on yourself to achieve."
A humble character, Wines embraces his rising stardom.
"I remember the days when (fellow Echuca product and Carlton star) Andrew Walker would come home. I was young tacker then, barracked for Carlton, so to see him come back, it was really special," he recalled.
"To get the opportunity to live that myself, come home and put smiles on those kids' faces ... it's really important to give back."