Ollie Wines – leading through action in South Australia

24 August 2023

He is known as a leader on the field, but Ollie Wines believes it will be young South Australians who will lead his adopted home state forward.

He has built an enviable reputation for his leadership on the field, but Ollie Wines believes it will be young South Australians embracing leadership opportunities in the community that will continue to propel his adopted home state forward.

Born in country Victoria, the dynamic midfielder was selected by the Port Adelaide Football Club at pick seven in the 2012 AFL National Draft.

Although widely tipped to be selected by a Victorian team, 18-year-old Wines made the move to a city far away from his close family. 

“At first when I was drafted, I had a lot of reluctance to move to another state and away from Victoria,” Ollie said.

“But the way the state has embraced me, and particularly our Port Adelaide football fans, has been really special.”

“(South Australia) gave me an opportunity to live my dream.”

The now 28-year-old has come a long way in those ten years and has racked up a list of achievements which many young aspiring footballers would dream of – Brownlow Medalist, All-Australian, Port Adelaide Best and Fairest, and Co-Captain of an AFL Club.

Away from football, he has also built a life for himself that he never could have imagined in Adelaide’s inner suburbs.

“It’s an unreal city to live in,” Ollie said.

“Just having everything so available to you…I’ve got everything I need here.”

Ollie grew up in Echuca, a small Victorian town perched on the Murray River, where he spent his winters playing football and summers on the water. 

Since moving to Adelaide, Ollie has found solace in escaping to the familiar calm of the Murray with teammates and friends, which has been a welcome relief from the pressures of playing AFL football. 

“Going up to the Murray and spending a weekend there, only 45 minutes out of Adelaide, has been really good for my mental wellbeing,” Wines said.

“Footy can be a lot at times and there can be a bit of pressure on you. To have that release and be close to the river has been really crucial for me. 

“My country town is probably the closest to Melbourne on the river and it’s still a three hour drive, so to have the ease of a 45 minute drive up to the river… it is a great outlet.”

Ollie has also enjoyed the boom of international events that South Australia has attracted in recent years, including LIV Golf and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. 

“To have some of the best golfers in the world come to our city and play at my golf course that I go and shoot four or five over every hole was pretty special,” Ollie said.

“The atmosphere of LIV Golf is something I haven’t seen too much.

“It was so cool to see everyone get around that. The amount of people that came from all of Australia to make that really special event.” 

Port Adelaide players have an average age of just over 24 years, and it is this youth and energy that Ollie believes drives the recent success at his Club.

“I think it comes with a sense of youth, which we certainly have at our club and an energy to make things happen. 

Ollie senses the same youthful momentum across the state.

“We’ve started to take the state where we want,” Ollie said.

“I think the more the youth and us young people can get involved, the better the state is going to be in the long term. 

“South Australia has given me every opportunity I’ve had, and it’s made my quality of life really good. I can’t thank the state and the people, what they’ve done for me.”