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Players looking to step up for midfield role

Ollie Wines press conference: 6 February 2019 - PTV Wines on his shoulder injury, captaincy and the rookies

PORT ADELAIDE’s Ollie Wines has nominated some experienced heads and some newer faces to replace him in the Power’s midfield during his injury layoff.

Wines is expected to return to the field in the first month of the AFL season after undergoing a shoulder arthroscopy following a water-skiing injury.

The 24-year-old’s shoulder was dislocated in what he described as a “freak accident” – the first time he’d suffered an injury of any kind while skiing over the past 20 years.

While the Power will have plenty of options to play Wines’ role, he named two inexperienced players he thought could step up.

“Joe Atley and his housemate Willem Drew (could play that role),” he said during a press conference on Wednesday.

“I swear Willem keeps growing.

“He’s about 192 centimetres now, he’s got a really good frame and he’s so intelligent so I think his footy smarts can be really beneficial.”

The Power has a plethora of players who can play in the midfield but who have played other roles in recent years like former skipper Travis Boak and fellow leader Brad Ebert.

But Wines predicted three other experienced players would also step into the centre.

“Sammy Powell-Pepper is training really well, I’ve seen a lot of composure with ball use with him and his fitness has come along,” Wines said.

“Sam Gray, who has had a couple of stints back in 2017 and 2018 in the midfield is an incredible ball winner and he can come in there and probably the other one who talks himself up is Hamish Hartlett.

“Hammer is back on the track flying around and he still bangs on to me about how he got left out of the mids about four years ago so I think he’s pretty keen to get back in there, so perhaps he can.

“But we’ve got a lot of guys who can be flexible in their roles to play any position.”

Hartlett was in fine form playing off half back early in 2018 before suffering a knee injury at training which required a reconstruction.

The 28-year-old joined in on match simulation at training on Wednesday, and Wines said he was a welcome sight.

“He’s a really spiritual leader for us,” Wines said.

“He carries the boys along and it’s given us a real boost to go into February seeing him come out here and train.

“I think he’s nearly back to doing everything that the main group is doing so he’s had a really good recovery.”