From the wakeboard, back to the bull: Ollie’s redemption

Ollie Wines has returned to career-best form. Picture:

It’s January 2019 and Ollie Wines is the natural choice to succeed Travis Boak as Port Adelaide captain.

The Power have suffered a horrific collapse from 11-4 to miss the finals, and have now opted to go hard at the draft.

It’s time for a changing of the guard.

Late in January, Wines injures his shoulder badly doing something he grew up doing – wakeboarding.

It drew massive criticism from commentators and some fans as to why a highly paid player would be doing such a risky activity in the first place.

Wines was then named captain, albeit a co-captain alongside Tom Jonas, which drew frustration from the Power faithful due to the love of the number one tradition.

The powerful midfielder would only play 12 games, mostly out of form as the Power failed to make September again.

Rumours of a move to Carlton also surfaced, but never eventuated.

It seemed, from the outer, as if Ollie Wines was at a crossroads.

Then came a hammer blow, as Port Adelaide in its 150th season opted against its controversial co-captaincy season and installed Jonas as the sole captain.

It was remarkable to see. Just how does Wines come back from the decision?

Other questions could also have been raised.

Just what Ollie Wines would we see in 2020? Where would he fit into the side with a barrage of powerful midfielders?

Wines missed round one with injury, and then was out of the Showdown in round two due to a suspension for a breach of COVID-19 protocols in an interview with Channel Seven.

Not the ideal way to break back into the side, especially with a man with plenty to prove.

Yet the return was devastating.

Against the struggling Fremantle, Wines picked up 14 contested possessions, six clearances and had 25 disposals in a sensational win.

Quieter performances in the following weeks against West Coast and Brisbane had critics talking again, but the bull was ready to roll.

A terrific performance against Melbourne in Queensland with another 25 touches and 11 contested possessions showed his hunger, but his match against Richmond was one of his best for the club.

Wines accrued 28 touches, 22 contested possessions, 11 tackles, 10 clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal.

The number 16 stood up as a leader in the midfield alongside Boak in a match-winning performance in the midfield.

There was hunger, there was desire, there was everything Port Adelaide fans demand of their stars.

The Echuca lad showed again what he’s capable of and if he continues that throughout the rest of the season, there’s no reason Port Adelaide can’t go deep in September.

It’s official, Ollie is back to his best.

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