After a two year hiatus from finals football Port Adelaide will return to the major round with a home Elimination Final clash with West Coast next Saturday night.
One man who will have an important role to play in the clash is Port Adelaide Vice-Captain Ollie Wines.
The 22-year old has statistically enjoyed a career best season averaging 27.3 disposals per match. His brute strength and ability to win clearances will certainly go a long way in ensuring the Power’s finals journey goes beyond week one of the finals.
A great finals record
Wines played finals in his first two years at AFL level and the young Victorian was certainly not overawed by the pressure of the occasion.
In his first final against Collingwood at the MCG in an Elimination Final cauldron the midfielder was one of the best contributors for the Power gathering 18 disposals, five clearances and kicking two second half goals. This was the first finals victory for the Power since the 2007 Preliminary Final.
The 2014 finals series was when Wines certainly enhanced his reputation in AFL circles. Port Adelaide would narrowly miss out on a Grand Final appearance but Ollie Wines stamped himself as one of the premier midfielders in the competition.
The 2014 Semi Final victory over Fremantle at Subiaco is arguably the best game Wines has played at AFL level. A return of 26 disposals, five tackles, seven clearances and three goals in a knockout final is the performance from someone who performs under pressure.
A finals leader
The 22-year old has had mixed form in the last two seasons like many of his teammates and Wines admitted a frank discussion with Ken Hinkley midway through last year helped him turn his form around.
“It gave me a big wake up call. I hadn’t had that throughout my career. To know I was on the fringe of maybe being dropped, it really sent a shock down me and I knew I had to change a few things”
No such conversation would need to have taken place in 2017. Finals football is when reputations are made and Ollie Wines will get another opportunity next Saturday to enhance his reputation as someone who stands up under finals pressure.