PORT ADELAIDE co-captain Ollie Wines says there is some risk involved with returning from a broken thumb, but he is committed to helping his team fight its way into September.
Wines missed three games after breaking in thumb in the first quarter against Brisbane in Round 17, and he says the reward for coming back at this time of the year clearly outweighs the risk.
“I think it’s about 85 per cent strength at six weeks,” Wines said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon at Alberton Oval.
“I’m playing with a guard at the moment. I’ll need the guard for a few more weeks. There is a slight risk of reinjuring it.
“We weighed it up, and the situation we are in and the time of year, I think the reward outweighs the risk.
“I’m past the pain stage in it. It’s not so much the pain, there is just a risk that if it cops a knock, it could break pretty easily.”
The midfield bull was a late inclusion against Sydney last weekend, and he booted two goals from 22 touches in an influential performance.
Wines says he was able to keep his fitness levels up during his time off, but nothing can compare to the intensity of an AFL game.
“I felt alright in terms of running the game out,” he said.
“With a broken thumb, obviously I was able to keep running throughout the time I was out, so I didn’t necessarily lose any conditioning.
“It was probably just catching up with the gameplay, not having been in a contested situation or at a stoppage and so on for a couple of weeks.
“After the first or second quarter I was fine. It was a bit of an interesting game. It wasn’t a high-possession game for the team or myself, but it was a real workmanlike performance.”
The 24-year-old is excited by the form his side has shown for some time now, and he puts that down to getting continuity of football into important players.
“It comes back to guys getting games under their belt,” Wines said.
“Understanding the game-plan does take a while. We changed things up at the end of last season and it just doesn’t happen overnight.
“The more games you play, the more consistency you get in your game-plan. Like most teams, we think we have got our best footy ahead of us.”
Wines says the feeling at Alberton is extremely positive, and he along with his teammates, are focussed on pushing deep into September action.
“Footy is what I love doing,” he said.
“I don’t want the season to end after two weeks, I want to play another four weeks after that.
“We have an incredible opportunity for these last two games to then play finals. We will go out there and attack the two weeks, and hopefully extend the season.”
Port Adelaide will be looking to maintain its position in the top eight when it faces North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night, with the first bounce at 7.25pm AEST.