Last season’s Bendigo Pioneers skipper Oliver Wines has spoken glowingly about the TAC Cup club’s professionalism helping his transition to AFL ranks.
Port Adelaide swooped on Wines with pick seven at the November national draft, with some surprised the tough, inside midfielder wasn’t taken higher.
Wines impressed many during his two seasons in Bendigo and he told the Power’s website the Pioneers’ program had held him in good stead for the AFL.
“One of the big things we particularly focused on was professionalism, learning the standards you need to meet to survive at the elite level,” Wines said.
“I really stepped up in my recovery and preparation before training and in games for Bendigo and I think it’s held me in good stead throughout the TAC Cup and set me up for my senior career at Port Adelaide.”
Wines took it upon himself to keep his fitness up when the Pios’ season ended, but nothing could fully prepare him for the intensity of pre-season at Alberton Oval.
“It’s a step up and it’s been difficult at times.
“All the conditioning staff have been monitoring the loads of us first-year players so we don’t burn out.
“I’ve been working closely with the development coaches and asking them questions when I need help.
“But I’m just loving the lifestyle of being an AFL footballer at Port Adelaide.”
In a sign of how highly Port Adelaide rate Wines, the Power handed him the coveted number 16 jumper – the number he’s worn since under-12s – which was made famous by premiership skipper Warren Tredrea.
Wines is keen to immerse himself in the Power’s history.
“I know how important the club is to footy and how rich the culture around it is and how long it goes back.
“You’ve just got to look around the rooms at some of the guys who’ve been here for decades and listen to their stories to just realise how good the club really is for the people of this city.”
On the track, though, Wines hopes to develop his all-round game beyond his main strength of winning the contested footy.
“I don’t think I’ll change my game style, that’s how I’ve always played my football,” he said.
“I think it can add another dimension to teams I play with and I’m looking forward to doing that with Port Adelaide.
“I think there’s always a place for that bigger midfielder who can feed the ball out to the runners.
“If I improve (my outside game) and work to get more possessions I can have a greater impact.
“I want to have an elite kick and break the lines with it. These things take work so I’ll be working a lot to hone and improve.”
Last Modified on 08/05/2013 08:41