Mercury (Hobart)

Port star is ‘kind of like Phar Lap’


FOR Ollie Wines it has always been about family and football.

It is why the tears flowed when he had to leave the Victorian town of Echuca in 2012 when taken at pick seven in the national draft and make South Australia his new home.

Now Port Adelaide has become his extended family, a point he was quick to make when the Brownlow Medal was draped around his neck as the club’s first winner.

As he stood on stage at Perth Stadium he thanked his parents in Echuca, his siblings in Melbourne, his coach and teammates and Wines also made special mention of girlfriend Olivia May.

“My partner Liv, you are probably the reason for my success this year,” he said.

In a pre-recorded video by parents of the respective contenders for the Brownlow, Wines’ mum Jane spoke about the “blond-haired, big boy” she called “Bam Bam”.

“Ollie’s biggest strength is his heart, he’s kind of like Phar Lap – big heart and a stayer,” she said.

“There are many best players but if Ollie won that award I would say he is the fairest player I know.”

Wines was so prolific in his vote getting he rewrote the Port Adelaide record books at round 16 when he moved to 24 – the Power’s previous best for a single season was 22 to Chad Cornes in 2004.

But it wasn’t a player like Cornes who Wines idolised as a boy, as he spoke about his love for Andrew Walker – also of Echuca – and the lengths he would take to find out his stats.

“Dad used to be runner for Moama in the Murray League and on the way back when I was a young tacker we used to stop and get a six-pack and a bit of pork crackle for me and I used to ring up (Rex Hunt’s show) and ask about Andrew Walker’s stats,” he said.

“As a young fella from a country town like that you want to follow your idols and they are the best examples.”

Wines himself didn’t think he was much of a chance before the count began, saying on the red carpet he was “not expecting much”.

He said he had been caught out for a winner’s speech.

“I didn’t prepare these myself, I was a little bit late to the party, but Chris Davies, my footy manager, has put some notes together for me,” he said.

“I am incredibly honoured to win this award. I see it as more than an individual award, it is a team award, from our playing group to our coaches to our football staff, upstairs in our buildings, to our administra­tion staff, everyone.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia