OLLIE WINES says having his long-term future secured at Alberton will allow him to concentrate on helping Port Adelaide achieve premiership success.
Wines was already contracted until the end of 2022, but agreed to terms on a four-year extension on Monday to extend his stay at the club until at least the end of 2026.
The vice-captain described it as an easy decision, especially considering the list the club had built.
“I was only too happy to jump at it. The club is in such a powerful position and for me to be locked away and part of that for the indefinite future, I’m really excited about it,” Wines told portadelaidefc.com.au.
“It probably puts some rumours that swirl around me to bed and lets me concentrate on my football and doing what I need to do to have a crack at it each year.
“I’m so excited that I’m part of this young, developing group and I’m keen to see what we can do together over the next five to ten years.”
Wines endured a tough period after signing his last contract extension in 2018, requiring two shoulder reconstructions and suffering two broken bones, each time spending stints on the sidelines.
But the COVID-19-enforced layoff worked in favour of the 26-year-old, who played all but the first two games in 2020 and finished up winning the club’s best finals player award.
“I still think it took me eight to ten weeks to get me going. I’ve said it all along that my position requires a fair few games to get that repetition and remember the intricate details that you might need to carry out at stoppage to get the ball and those routes to run and patterns throughout the game,” he said.
“I think after round 10 I was able to play my best football and set us up from there but now I’m through that period and fingers crossed, touch wood, I don’t have any more injuries and I can have a fresh start going into 2021 and get some pre-season games under my belt.
“I think I’ll be back to my best for a whole 23 weeks plus finals.”
With no off-season surgery planned, Wines feels fresh and his body strong after a few weeks break.
“I was really good at the end of the season,” he said.
“This weekend we’ve just ticked off a month since our last game so we’ve just started running again and back into the gym so it was good to have that freshen up.
“In the end it was a very long season having trained throughout that shutdown period for eight to ten weeks into a mini pre-season and into games.
“Really, we were going at it for ten to 12 months all up and this previous month has been good to freshen the body up but I’m very excited to resume full training in January with the boys."
Back home in Echuca in Victoria for the off-season, Wines is enjoying the comforts of living with his parents as well as spending time with family for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic.
He is planning to remain there until pre-season training resumes at the club in January.
“It was a tough year being isolated from our families, not being able to get home at all and them not being able to visit so just being able to spend some quality time back home and chill out,” Wines said.
“Having the dinner cooked for me by mum and the washing done, not having to worry about that is one of those small things I take for granted but I’m really going to cherish that over the next couple of months, enjoy a good Christmas, freshen up and be ready to go in January.”
Port has added defender Aliir Aliir and forward Orazio Fantasia to its list during the trade period and Wines is excited to work with his new teammates.
He said he expected them to make the side better, but most of its growth would come from within.
“I think our biggest development will come just from another year under these young guys’ belts,” Wines explained.
“If you look at the years they had, Zak Butters throughout the year, Xavier Duursma, Connor Rozee in the finals, especially that one against Richmond – some of the things he was able to do as a 19-year-old is unlike anything I’ve seen before.
“So I think in general being another year older and having another 20 games under the belt is going to be so beneficial and I think as time goes on and as that crop of 18 to 23 year olds get into their prime, it’s only going to be better for us and I think we’re going to be a pretty dangerous team.”