19/04/2024

New Carlton recruit Ollie Hollands. Image: carltonfc.com.au

It’s the morning after the night before and Ollie Hollands is “living the dream already”.

Just hours removed from having his name called out at pick 11 by Carlton, Hollands can’t shake the smile or excitement to be joining the club he grew up supporting as a boy.

“It’s still settling in really,” Hollands told The Inner Sanctum.

“It’s been such a special couple of days, I’m relieved that it’s happened but I’m over the moon.”

The hard-running inside-outside midfielder has built his reputation of being one of the strongest runners in the draft pool. The Blues had earmarked Hollands as the type of player that they were chasing to round out its talented list.

As draft night came closer and a lot of the talk about picks being traded and players bolting up or sliding down lingered, Hollands’ name was linked to Carlton almost all the way through without much movement.

But the man himself didn’t know for sure that he would be heading to Princes Park until he was on stage at Marvel Stadium after his name had been read out, getting his jumper handed to him by one of his idols, Sam Walsh.

“There wasn’t much of an inkling, I wasn’t too sure which way it would go.

“Vossy coming out last week and [him] saying they were looking for an outside mid did make me feel like it might happen, but there was still a lot of uncertainty heading into it.”

A Carlton supporter from way back, Hollands has taken inspiration from watching Walsh earn his reputation and standing in the game in a team that hasn’t yet tasted success.

“It was just another beautiful layer of it all,” Hollands said on receiving his jumper from Sam Walsh.

“It made it even more special.

“[He’s] definitely someone I’ve modelled my game on in the last few years. I’ve watched him really closely, his craft, his competitiveness too. His high work rate and his ability to stay in the game.

“There’s some stuff there that I’ve tried picking apart of his game and implementing into mine. I’ve loved watching Walshy over the last few years and I can’t wait to get in there and stick pretty close to him.”

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Like Walsh when he entered the Carlton senior team in his first season, he started as an outside midfielder playing on a wing. A position where Hollands is predicted to be deployed first up by Michael Voss and the Carlton coaching group.

Hollands, while happy to make the wing position his own and use his endurance and speed as a strength, has hopes of breaking into midfield on the inside and continuing to add strings to his bow.

“I definitely think in the early parts of my career I’ll be in that outside role, whether it be on a wing, high half-forward or half-back flank, I’m not sure,” he said.

“I feel it will be that outside role as I start to put on abit more size and grow into my body a little bit more. In the future, I do see myself playing more of an inside mid role.

“Obviously, I’m just super excited to just embrace new roles. If that opportunity arises to play one of those positions then I’m going to take it.

“I’ve got to go into the club now, earn my spot. I know I’m not going to go in there and walk straight in. Where the list is at the moment, it’s such a deep list and the club is heading in a really positive direction.”

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